Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Only a Matter of Time

Last week, I opened my back door to three stories of absolutely nothing.  As it turns out, building management is replacing the back porch/fire escape. 

On the one hand, this will be very nice, as the fire escape had been quite rickety and the steps irregular--which is a real hazard for people like me who have a hard enough time on flat surfaces. 

On the other hand, I'll have several weeks chock full of opportunities to forget that there is nothing outside my back door but certain death.

Also, as I was clipping my nails, I accidentally cut half my toe off.

Bets are now open for whether the fall or the gangrene will get me first.

(Prada has been accompanying me to work while the construction is going on.  In the car this morning, we discovered she passionately hates the song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something--she howled during the entire thing.  But she does like classical.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

My face, the day after an evening test-run for my Halloween makeup.  As my costume is pretty makeup-intensive, I wanted a run-through to figure out exactly how early I need to get up on Wednesday.  (Answer:  Very.)  And because I can never do costumes by halves, I went out and purchased higher-end makeup that actually dries (in case my nose itches, or something). 

Gotta say, the makeup does stay in place.  I washed my face four times to get it all off.

But, it's me, so I forgot to clean it off my glasses.  Which I put on the next morning in a pre-Mt. Dew stupor.  Aaaand I didn't realize I had facepaint smeared all over the bridge of my nose until about 10:30 that morning, at work.  Which means my coworkers are either equally unobservant or total assholes.  Jury's out.

(True:  A third option is that my coworkers did notice, and just decided it wasn't the weirdest I've looked...)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: It Goes Both Ways

I've written in previous weeks how it's important to me to advocate for adoptable dogs, and I've seen so many examples of people doing so much to help dogs in need.

Sometimes, though, it's the dogs helping the adoptable people.  Last Sunday, Linka (with my parents, of course) and lots of other dogs participated in the Canine2IronDog Event near Oak Forest, Illinois, and they were raising money for FOSCIK, a group dedicated to providing for the basic needs of orphaned and abandoned children in Kenya.

If you're a dog-lover, then you know first-hand how a dog can be so good for you, and everyone has heard stories of dogs saving their owners from fires, warning them prior to a seizure, or cheering a child in hospice, whatever.  This is the first time, though, that I've heard of a group of dogs doing good for a group people in this way, and it makes me so damn proud on so many levels.


(And guess who took second in their division?)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I don't have any experience with revenge, but pizza is best served cold for breakfast.

Today, as I shoveled pizza into my gob, a friend turned to me and said something very profound:

"You know, you've got to take advantage of your time being single.  In five years, you could be married, have kids, and be less happy."

Makes sense.  My biggest complaint today is that my new tights are not, in fact, truly opaque.

(True:  I have yet to understand how we can send a craft to Mars but no one can figure out how to make a comfortable pair of tights.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Advice To Live or Die By. Whichever.

I've written before about how I'm a bit clumsy.  Last week I fell off the toilet and nearly brained myself on the sink.  And then the cast iron radiator.  (To be fair, I was standing on the toilet, because...  You know what?  I'm going to just let you wonder.)

Anyway, I know it's really bugging you, not knowing how I actually survive the day-to-day dangers I face.  Well, I've got rules.

1.  When the going gets tough, watch Supernatural for six hours.  Most trouble doesn't last six hours, and if it does, well, at least it's not a brain-eating monster or Apocolypse 6.0.  Probably.

2.  Never wear pants.  Unless you're in public or otherwise likely to be arrested.  If I am going to die young, I don't want to have missed any pantsless opportunities.

3.  If you're going with a group, let someone else drive.  For obvious reasons, most noteably that you're a god-awful terrible driver.

4.  Read every book in one sitting.  When you're reading, you're immobile, and when you're immobile, you're less likely to accidentally throw yourself down the stairs.  So at least you won't die wondering how the book ends.

5.  Try to avoid your neighbors as much as possible.  No one needs to know you were the one who accidentally drop-kicked a heavy houseplant off the third floor fire escape.  (Learned:  Dirt explodes.  Who knew?)

6.  Statistically, more objects likely to fell you are on the ground than in the air.  So stare at the ground whereever you walk.  Just know that once in a while, you are going to bean your head on stop sign/tree/a stretching tall person. 

7.  When purchasing shoes:  Do the hokey pokey.  If the shoes fall off, they will at some point try to kill you.  Probably in some horrifying, public, and grotesque way.  You've got sexy brains, but no one wants to see them splattered in the food court.

8.  If it requires balance, take a deep breath and don't.  This includes riding a bike.  You'd be better off swimming in pirhanna-infested waters with a raw steak strapped to your face than riding a bike.

9.  Keep in stock:  bandaids, triple antibiotic, ace bandages, gauze pads and gauze wraps, moleskin, burn ointment, Visine, aspirin, and vodka.  Keep all these things in the freezer, since that's where you'll head first anyway.

(True:  My next apartment is going to be on the ground floor.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheap and Easy, and You Can Still Show Your Mother! (DIY Lego Costume for Dogs)

Pardon my terrible photography skills.  Also, the top looks spotty because it was raining.

Last Sunday, I went to a fundraising event for some local animal shelters, and on the agenda was a pet costume contest.  I decided go go Friday night, when I was in a hurry and broke.  As I strolled the aisles of the local craft store, praying for inspiration, I remembered this image from Pinterest:

Via  (This might not be the original source.  If you know, let me know.)
Cardboard box and Solo cups?  Easy and cheap.  But not flexible for wigglesome dogs like Prada.

But have no fear, for I came up with a solution:  sheets of craft foam, the top of a shoe box, and foam can holders.  Everything but the shoe box (which I had because I have a shoe problem) was in the same aisle--the sheets were $.79 each (I bought two) and the can holders were a buck a piece (I bought two).

  I did not take photos as I went along, because I was in a hurry.  (And because my place is a mess.)

Step 1:  Cut a U-shape into one end of the shoe box (or whatever box is roughly as long as your dog, shoulder-to-tail.)  This gives room for their neck.  You will end up cutting off the head end side of the box lid entirely, but that's okay.  You just need something to give a little bit of firmness to the top and sides of the Lego to hold the craft foam in shape.

Step 2:  Cover the top of the box with craft foam.  I used glue dots because I was in a hurry, but I plan on going over it again with proper glue.  Aleene's (maker of the famous craft-glue-in-a-gold-bottle) makes an adhesive to use specifically on craft foam, though I understand hot glue and white glue also work.

Step 3:  Cut a small slit in both sides of the box lid, right about where your dog's "armpit" is.

Step 4:  Cut craft foam to cover the sides and back of the shoe box, extending down to cover your dog's side.  Don't glue around the slit you cut, though...  (I realized later I should have duct-taped the insides together, connecting the back panel the the side panels, fyi.)

Step 5:  Cut a U-shape into the back end to leave room for the butt/tail.

Step 6:  Trim the can holders down to Lego-peg-appropriate height.  I cut them basically in half to be in proportion with a Prada-sized Lego.

Step 7:  Cut circles in the craft foam sheet to cover the top of the Lego-pegs/bottom of the can holders.  There was a little hole.  And I'm finicky.

Step 8:  Glue the pegs onto the Lego box.

Step 9:  Pass a ribbon/string/whatever through the slits on either side of the box.  They shouldn't be visible under the craft foam.  I used velcro straps, which worked really well.  I just looped them around Prada's harness.

And that's it!  It's easier than it sounds, I promise--it took me around fifteen minutes, and turned out well enough that Prada won the contest.  Not bad for less than five bucks!

Best of all, Prada wore it for about three hours with no problems--the craft foam kept it lightweight and flexible.

(True:  Has anyone else seen that chia pet costume on Pinterest?  If I'd had more time...)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Buy Gifts, Do Good

Getting involved in pet adoption advocacy has been rewarding in so many ways...  The events I've attended have all been interesting, informative, fun for both Prada and me, and have introduced me to so many amazing people and organizations and companies.

Lainey's Pawtique and Bakery is one of these companies.  Their pet treats are homemade from fresh ingredients (Prada has tried them and approves mightily), and their other products are one-of-a-kind and completely adorable. 

That all makes Lainey's cool, but here's the best part:  they donate 5% of every sale to various pet charities and shelters.  For October, proceeds are going to's "Blanketed with Love" campaign.  (The campaign collects and distributes blankets for pets receiving treatment for cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, to keep them warm during transport after uncomfortable treatments.)

Starting November first and continuing through December 23rd, the donations will go toward making two huge treat baskets for animals in local Illinois shelters.  You can make purchases at Lainey's website or their Etsy store, where you will also have the option to add a $5 donation for the treat baskets to your order (coming soon).

Pretty sweet, huh?

(So, to my dog-loving friends and family--guess where your gifts are coming from this Christmas?)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Totally Going to Be in Trouble with the Man Upstairs...

. . . But it's got to be said:  Angels are jerks.  I have a lot of evidence for this theory.  Pretty much everywhere I turn, I see a Jerk Angel.
Doctor Who:

The charges:  Angels that eat your life and send you into the past to die in obscurity without Facebook in bad history clothes.

Verdict?  Toothy Jerks That Needs a Manicure.


The charges:  Angels that call you "maggot," beat you up a lot, only need you for your "meat suit," and are pro-apocolypse.

Verdict?  Cataclysmic Jerks.


The charges:  Congregating (pun absolutely intended) in groups of seemingly-benign-but-actually-super-creepy flocks/hosts/flights.  Generally found in a "TV room."  Very judgmental.  Sometimes look stoned, or like they eat children.


Verdict?  Creepy Stare-y Jerks.

Look, I don't really have a problem with angels--in the same way I don't have a problem with most people.  By all means, go about you business, oh winged one.  Just stay away from me.  And don't go all "watching over me," either.  Because I mostly don't wear pants.  And I definitely don't want to talk to one.  I want niether the "awe and terror" they they always seem to inspire, nor the explanations that will inevitably follow and land me in a nuthouse.  You know Mary didn't have an easy time saying, "Hey, Joe, I've got the Big Guy's bun in the oven.  No, not that biker from the bar last month, the Big Guy Upstairs.  It's a, you know, miracle?"

(True:  Seriously, angel tree-toppers give me the heebies.  Something about the blank eyes...  Worse even than porcelain dolls.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Not Just for Tripods

Wow, I just realized it's really been a while since I've posted anything for this series.  These posts are never my most popular, and they almost never get comments, but I do believe they are the most important ones.  Not that it's difficult to top "How Pinterest Pisses Me Off" and "Look at This Absurd Thing That Happened to Me."

In this series, I try to advocate for dogs with altered mobility, but outside this blog, I advocate for most any underdog.  (Ba-dum-chick.)  Lots of dogs fall under the classification of being "less-adoptable." 

The term "special needs," as applied to dogs, is a very large umbrella term.  It includes those like Prada, who have altered mobility, as well as dogs that are blind or deaf, have social or behavioural challenges to overcome, have chronic health issues, are heartworm positive, or have dietary restrictions.  This means that because a dog with food allergies needs to be on a lamb and rice diet (which most decent dog food manufacturers carry), it's labeled "special needs" and therefore less adoptable.  Same goes for a dog that is skittish around men in hats.  Or a dog that is blind in one eye.  Most people interested in adopting will skip right over any dog whose profile shows the special needs icon.

"Special needs" isn't an "is" or "is not" thing; rather it's a spectrum.  Plenty of dogs with the label will lead normal, healthy lives that require no significant extra care.  And plenty of them have serious issues that may take a lot of time or money to deal with, which doens't mean they aren't deserving of a loving home.
Elderly dogs are also less-adoptable.  My first dog, Hans, came into my life when he was nine or so.  For a dachshund, which can live well into their teens, that's not really old.  But dogs in the shelter system are often dubbed "elderly" as early as age five for larger breeds and seven for smaller breeds.  Many of these dogs have years and years of life left, if they can avoid euthanization.  And those that are truly elderly are often calmer and lower-maintenance, energy-wise, than their younger counter-parts, which may in fact make them a better fit for some people.

Also on the "less-adoptable" list are the bully breeds.  If you know anything about breed specific legislation, you know the term "pit bull" is frequently applied to many more dog breeds than just the American Pit Bull Terrier:  Staffordshire Terriers, bull dogs, and even boxers have been inacurately labelled.  And pit bulls (of whatever breed) are the most-euthanized dogs in shelters.

Cesar Milan can give much more articulate reasons why this is such a tragedy than I can.  But I do know that I have met my fair share of dogs I've actually been afraid of--and they ranged from big dogs to little, all sorts of breeds.  What they all did have in common was owners who wouldn't take responibility for their dog's behavior.  On the other hand, my good friends who have adopted three adult American Pit Bull mixes have the sweetest girls you've ever met.  It's not luck that those three dogs are well-adjusted and happy.  (Although they are lucky dogs.)

Look, the point of advocating for these dogs is not to make people feel guilty about the kind of dog they have or want--it's about educating, and hopefully making someone consider--often for the first time--whether they might be willing to take on a dog that needs some accomodation, and what level of accomodation they are able or willing to make.

And, ooh, hey, look what my awesome cousin found:

Seriously, how cool is that?  I wish I had known about it sooner.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And the Award Goes To...

If you are reading this, it probably means that it's finally happened.  I've finally achieved my (literally) life-long dream of getting a Darwin Award.  I've taken the liberty of writing a speech--obviously one of you dear readers will need to read it for me at the ceremony.  (I've included some notes on delivery.)

First of all, I'd like to thank my mom and my maternal grandmother, who showed me how to bear clumsiness with dignity if not grace.  Pause for laughter.

Thanks also to my dad and My Sister the Lawyer for teaching me that gracelessness is best when the amusement is shared.  And to my friend Seven, because sometimes, that amusement needs to be shared with a sharp jab to someone's kidney.  Pause for laughter.

To the members of the swing dancing club (If you put air quotes around the word "swing," I will personally come back from hell to haunt your ass.) I was part of in college:  I owe you so much.  Not only did your lessons help me learn to at least not embarrass myself (so much) dancing, they also taught me to walk without running into walls.  Mostly.  And that's probably what kept me alive for so long.  And to all the leads who partnered me:  Despite all the times I stepped on your feet, elbowed you in the gut, and once head-butted you during an aerial in a place that could constitute sexual harassment, you never once gave up on me.  Or filed charges.  Thank you.  And I'm really glad your insurance company ended up covering that procedure after all.

Finally, I know I didn't likely die in a dignified manner.  I quite possibly didn't have pants on.  But please, if you could, remember me just like I was that one time in that photo taken in 2006, where I don't look like a complete derp with stupid hair.  Yes, I know that memory will be false, but it's my last wish.  Not my dying wish, obviously, because I'm already dead, but my last, post-mortem wish.  Or I guess it could be my first post-mortem wish, if one of you develops an affinity for ouija boards. 

If you try to contact me by ouija board, I will totally just make "your mom" jokes.  So, yeah.  (Please stop reading now.  I've clearly derailed.)


(True:  This is not an attempt to fake my own death.  Just to be clear.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Consummation" is not the act of consuming. Sadly.

In the last sixty hours or so, I have eaten:

  • Two cartons of Bob Evans mashed potatoes topped with about half a pound of butter
  • An entire bag of pita chips topped with roasted red pepper hummus
  • A whole order of cheesy sticks from the local pizza place  (Theoretically, they are cheese-topped breadsticks, but that's not quite right.  They're really about two pounds of buttered cheese with just enough crust underneath to hold them together--if you eat fast.)
  • Three big-as-your-head tacos
  • A package of Godiva truffles
  • A pomegranate
  • A water buffalo
(One of the above is a lie.)

This is what happens when I'm over-tired, over-stressed, and too busy marathoning "Supernatural" to bother cooking.  I feel like a cow.  On the plus side, I'm mostly sort of don't feel homicidal.  And that's an improvement.

(True:  I actually lost a pound.  You hate me now, don't you?)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shakespeare's Got Nothing On Me.

I know you missed my poetry.  I have such talent, after all...

Bad Day Poem

1.  Ten O'Clock in the Morning

I'm running on no sleep.
My eyes are dry and bleary.
All the caffeine in the vending machine
Can't help this day that's so dreary.

2.  Head Case

It's a bad hair day--
I know you can't tell.
As far as you know,
I always look like hell.

3.  Eye Know

These bags under my peepers
Hang down to my chin.
I could put on some makeup
If I knew where to begin.

4.  Free Lunch

At some point today,
I really need to work.
My pen's at the ready,
But it's easier to shirk.

5.  Or Eleven

Damn pen just exploded;
I'm dripping with ink.
I can't wait to get home
And settle in with a drink.

6.  Silver Lining

It's not my best day.
There are plenty of clues
That I don't want to be here--
But I've got fabulous shoes.

7.  Greetings

Pretty please just go away--
Not that I don't like your face.
But it's one of those days that's full of malaise,
And I do hate the whole human race.

8.  Epilogue

The weekend isn't quite the same
As happily ever after.
But those two days don't wreak
Tragedies quite as bleak
For this poor pipsqueak
(Wow, am I on a streak.)
'Cause I can stew in my B-movie laughter.

(True:  Bonus points if you find the Doctor Who reference.)

(Blah, blah legalese:  This is an original work, and I reserve all rights.  Steal it and I'll sic My Sister the Lawyer on you.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

And That's How I Died.

Luck favors the bold.  And also the uncaffeinated.

As proven this morning when I blythely walked right behind a car going in reverse.  I'm not entirely certain how I managed to not see it--SUVs aren't exactly small.  Or sneaky.

Funny thing about almost being hit by a car:  the drivers always apologize, even when you're the half-asleep moron that just stepped in front of (or behind, in this case) a moving vehicle.  Of course, the fact that the driver is (I almost said "was," but fortunately that's not accurate) a good friend of mine, might have had something to do with it.


(True:  Aaaaand now I just dribbled ketchup down my shirt.  I'm such a catch.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Official. I'm a Grown-Up.

Hehehehehe.  Snort.

Sorry, I really hope you didn't take that title seriously.  But it is my birthday, and I am officially old, so I've decided to go incognito now, before I start getting (more) wrinkles.

And because I've been in a go big or go home kind of mood, I decided to go incognito as the coolest thing I could think of:

Batman.  Obviously.
Also, I am intrigued by the concept that for the first time in my life, I haven't got stupid hair, and I am still physically incapable of taking a photo without looking like I have a mental disability or the worst facial tic in the history of seizures.

Anyway, happy birthday to me!  And thank you to my parents for having a second child, even though your first one was (and sometimes, still is) called "The Terror."  Let me know sometime how that turned out for you, okay?

(True:  The printables can be found for free here.)