Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bend Over The Weekend

Benham Falls:

The (smoky) view from Pilot Butte:

Get it? Bend over....the weekend?

More later after the kids and their rude demands for candy go away.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Should Be Mad, but I Have a Serious Cuteness Weakness

After a complete summer's worth of back-breaking manual labor, we were able to completely de-root 20 years' worth of ivy growth, and nestle some spare, unthirsty, baby plants into a fluffy bed of bark dust, which we hope will help them blossom next spring into lovely blobs of lavender and sage.

However, we did not count on the fact that the neighborhood has a healthy squirrel population, and a healthier walnut tree across the street. We had no idea that what we installed was a 75-foot-long nut storage device.

Now they seem to be digging just for the aesthetic pleasure of seeing their own handiwork. Our fluffy new bark dust looks like it has been hit by a thousand tiny air strikes.

The bark flies in all directions when they are at work. I should be livid that I have to go out and sweep the bark back into place, and smooth over the pock marks. But I don't care. They're just so cute, and they look so happy that this new pantry has fallen into their tiny little laps.

I'll think about fixing it in the spring.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't You Wish You Were Here Right Now?

Here are some pictures from the last time I got Drew to go hiking with me. This is the Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia Gorge.

Yes, his feet hurt. But it was worth it. And I got to try out my new camera. It was worth it too.

This (below) is Punchbowl Falls, once featured on the cover of a totally awesome Styx album (pre log fallage). Rock on.

I try to catch Drew tending to his delicate feet and/or knees at some point in each hike.

Happy autumn. Go outside and look at the leaves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Imagine the Horror

Imagine the horror of, after losing your concentration for a moment, or hurrying too fast, you take someone's life. A young, promising, happy life.

So slow down. Use your mirrors. And for God's sake, if you pass a cyclist, remember him when you make that right turn. And that way you won't kill anybody.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's SARS - Surly Annoying Robber of Sleep

Remember when I said something about feeling colds coming on while we were hiking - 14 DAYS AGO?

Since that Monday, I snuffled for a couple of days and went on with my life.

While Drew snorted, coughed, wheezed, talked in a yodelly voice using several octaves at once, coughed, complained of ringing in his ears, developed a new and startling kind of barking cough, complained of pain in his ears, went to the doctor, came home with an armload of pills and the name of an ENT, and continued to cough all night. He may have to get tubes put in his ears to reduce the constant cold-to-ear-infection cycle he goes through every year, which is several kinds of funny.

Since he was unable to work during this illness, he turned to the healing properties of paint fumes, and proceeded to paint the interior of the house as therapy.

I can't stop him. But I don't have to enable him either.

Today he has gone back to work for the first time in quite a while. The house is quiet - at least temporarily. And the paint fumes are waning - at least temporarily. With the high ceilings in this place, he's still got several rooms to go.

And I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Take That, Hipster Animators

When Dean was little, I used to rent a video with this cartoon on it every Halloween season. For Dean, see. Not because I loved watching the skeletons dance.

This is from Walt Disney circa 1929. Yeah, 1929. I think it's as entertaining and inventive as most of the animation available today.

But I'm probably just being old and curmudgeonly.

You Can All Him "Doctor Scotty" Now.

'Cause he just got his PhD in Advanced Awesome.

Yeah, he was worried. There were times when he just wanted to bark at the top of his lungs and pounce on the closest dog. But he didn't. Because he knew he wasn't supposed to. And he kicked ass.

Things he had to do:
  • Meet a stranger without straining at the leash, jumping up on them or nuzzling their crotch. (Yeah, he can do that when he needs to.)
  • Having a stranger hug him tight, mess with his feet and tail, and pet him roughly. (He didn't like the tail part, but he was patient about it.)
  • Walk through a crowd of people, including wheelchairs. (No problem.)
  • Walk on a loose leash, stop when I stop, and go when I go. (Psssh. We can do that in our sleep.)
  • Sit on command. (Kindygarden stuff.)
  • Lay down on command. (Um, slowly.)
  • Sit and stay while I walk away. (Oops. A little wiggling at the end there. And he was so good at this!)
  • Sit and stay, and then come when called even though he's getting petted by a friendly stranger. (Okay, but it seems rude to just leave her there...)
  • Walk at my side while we meet someone with another dog on a leash. No crossing over to socialize. The point is to ignore the other dog. (As if! Scotty didn't cross over the invisible line of doom, but he really, really wanted to. And he whined like a baby.)
  • Help diffuse an angry situation by staying calm while two people argue, and we encounter a third. (Scotty was a little freaked out by this, but tried to maintain. The evaluator noticed his stress.)
  • Walk past a toy without taking it. (The "leave it" drill. We nailed it!)
  • Act nice and gentle while being offered a treat. (He said "no thank you," but nicely).
Can you believe he passed? I know, me neither. Actually, he got a "Predictable" rating, which is passing, but not passing with an "A." It's like being a "C" student.

But then, do you know what they call someone who graduates last in his class at medical school?


That's right, baby.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Explaining an Inside Joke

When Drew says to me "Ah'm a busy man! Ah don't have tahm to stop and do wimin-folk work," I crack up.

It loses a little in translation when I say "Ah'm a busy woman! Ah don't have tahm fer sich bizniss," it's still funny, because we can still recognize the joke.

So when I say, "This Just In: Busy Woman [fill in blank]," I am referring to a joke that you are not aware exists. It's my way of being inscrutable in a way that doesn't make any sense. Here. I'll tell you the story.

Once upon a time, Drew and I were a very poor couple of kids living in Austin, Texas. Drew was a few months into a six-year Air Force enlistment, and I had gotten myself pregnant by working in a maternity shop (don't let them tell you stories about how ladies get pregnant - I lived it).

Our apartment had just gone "condo" (all the rage in the eighties), and we needed a new cheap place to live. We stopped in at the base housing office, and found a listing for a "house" for $250 a month - cheap even in 80's dollars.

Intriguing, no? (You can click on the image at the left to see the "listing."

The house had started as an addition that someone had built onto a single-wide mobile home, maybe for a farm hand long gone. At some point, the trailer had rotted away, so they sided up the former trailer side, and built another half onto the other side of the addition. Voila, a rental home extraordinaire, complete with scorpions, tub worms, and cockroaches. Home sweet home, with a lovely view of the few remaining milk cows loitering in their little pasture.

The proprietors, Dorothy and August Krumm, were a doddering old couple who must have immigrated from Germany early enough to have a Texas twang twisted into their Teutonic tongues, so that their accents were impossible to recreate, no matter how much we tried.

I would trudge over to their farm house once a month with the rent, knowing that old Dorothy was going to sit me down and require me to endure a formal visit with tea and whatever awful stale cookies or crackers she could unearth from her kitchen. If she could not find what she was looking for, she would call for August to look in the store shed, and he would reply,

"Ah'm a busy man, woman! Ah don't haff tahm fer yer fizitin!"


"Ah'm a busy man! That cows a'givin me some trooble, you don't know!"

Meanwhile, Dorothy would scratch out one of her receipts for the rent, which were so cute, I've kept some of them to this day.

So when I say, "I'm a busy woman," you should know it's really funny.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This Just In: Busy Woman Takes Time to Update Her Blog

  • We spent last week not painting the house. Too much rain. Shocked, you say? Nevertheless. We will probably spend this week doing the same.
  • Scotty made it through a staged earthquake on Saturday, assisting pretend victims by being cute. Again, he loved the people. The other dogs were hard to ignore.
  • The Famed World Travelers, Becca (and Brian) came over on Saturday. We planned on picking their brains on how to world-travel, but we didn't get around to it. We'll have to try again soon. They're the good kind of dinner guests - they bring wine.
  • Sunday, Drew managed to not race another cylcocross race. Kind of his specialty.
  • Meanwhile, I helped another class of therapy dog candidates in their testing process. I excelled in my part as Crowd Member Number 5.
  • We finished up the weekend by eating too much at Fire On The Mountain (chicken wings and spicy sauces) in PDX with some 'cross racers who actually raced at the race. I stuck with barbecue sauce because I do not enjoy pain.
  • We took a hike on Monday by going too far up the Eagle Creek trail, and realizing somewhere along the path that we were both coming down with colds and our feet hurt.
  • My car is back! Now it smells like grease and paint.
  • Do NOT hit my car. A reminder.

Friday, October 05, 2007

And Misfortune Continues to Hang On My Dainty Shoulders

....I burnt my tongue.

Just thought you'd want to know.

Flowers and gifts may be sent to my Felida address, as I'm sure my hospital stay will be brief.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dean: Something to Take Your Mind Off Your Troubles

Johnny. Depp. Will have vengeance. And. Will. Totally. SING.

The Agony of Defeat Really, Really Sucks

Dean's nationals trip really took a dive today when he couldn't get up any speed in a simple 200 meter qualifier.

It's a simple speed trial, one he's done many times, and much faster. He doesn't know why his legs turned to grape jelly today. He could be coming down with something. He could have just had a bad day after a series of sleepless nights.

But after so much work, it's a painful trip-up that will cost him.

What will he do next? Can he pick himself up after this? Is there anything left for him at nationals this year? And what about after nationals? Does he go back to twice-a-day workouts? Or just go home and leave the pain for some other schmuck?

Stay tuned for answers. Next week on Deancat Manor.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's October. That Means It's Time to go ALL IN

I get freaked out by having to drive somewhere new to take my dog on a light rail system I've never been on, to walk around in an airport. Scary, right?

Or is scary driving to LA with a small contingent from your tiny, under-funded, Portland-based amateur bike racing team and going to the line with bike racers half again your size with more professional-level training under their belt this year alone then you've received in your lifetime, with the goal of beating them fair and square, using only your sinewy muscles, ninja skill, Celtic hocus-pocus and pirate-like voodoo?

That's what I thought.

It's Nationals time again and Dean is on his way to LA to the Staples Center Velodrome. No big thing. Just the make-up of the Beijing Olympics team is on the line. If you remember, Drew and I accompanied the team down to LA last year in the team van. Dean did great. I thought I was going to die of terror.

This is one of those national championships right before an Olympic year. Everybody is on edge. Even if we had money to follow him, it would be a bad idea. I would come back with either a stroke-induced limp or a hemorrhaging ulcer.

I've seen him crash. I've seen him get hurt. I've seen him lose races he should have won. I don't know which one is more painful to watch. They all tear my heart out. But fear of those outcomes can only hurt you.

Fear is the thing that I fight with the most. Because it's useless. Especially when you have a son who has courage. Remember the lesson from before? Courage is doing scary stuff even if you're scared. And Dean is the King of the Forest with that stuff.