Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BULLETIN: Annie No Longer At Death's Door. Stay Tuned for Important Updates

All the doggy behaviorists tell you not to anthropomorphize your dogs by assuming they think like people. And I would agree with them if I only had Scotty. And Shelby. And every other dog I have known. But even Cesar the Great Dog Whisperer would agree with me that Annie thinks like an Olson twin.

Her last bout with anorexia seems to be resolving itself. It started a few days ago when she woke up cranky and wouldn't eat her breakfast. Being all hard-assed, I gave her two tries at eating it and then put her bowl in the fridge until dinner. At dinner, she nibbled, but mostly looked pathetic. At least I tried to be all hard-assed. By the third day, I was hand feeding her and fretting about taking her to the vet. Today she's over it. She must have dropped that holiday pound that she put on during all the festivities.

She also thinks that she is being followed by paparazzi. On walks she tries to stop for every passing car and look inside, attempting to make eye contact with the driver. HONEST. I believe she thinks that they have all been looking for her, and that she just wants to assure them that they have found her. And she expects them all, once they have seen her, to pull over and ask for her autograph. The worst part is that it actually happened the other day. A poor, grieving woman who had recently lost her collie saw Scotty and Annie and pulled over in her truck to ask me about where I got mine. (I don't think Annie realized that the woman was really more interested in Scotty and I didn't have the heart to tell her.)

There's also the posing, the horror she expresses in having to go outside to relieve herself, the fear of black cats (very superstitious), the substance abuse (Greenies) and the early bedtimes. I'm telling you. She is One Of Them. Or she really wants to be.

And for the record: I got them at the Humane Society. Vancouver's cast-offs. I suppose that might explain a lot.

You'll Want To Have Your Picture Taken With Me After You Read This

Today I ate an entire head of cauliflower for dinner.

I did too.

See, here's what you do:

  1. Eat too much leftover pot roast for lunch.
  2. At dinner, rifle through the fridge looking for something vegetable-based, so you won't feel too piggy.
  3. Find a sorry old cauliflower with some brown spots that is looking all "now or never."
  4. Cut off the brown spots and chop it up.
  5. Combine a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and a tablespoon each of lemon juice and curry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some pepper in a big bowl.
  6. Throw the cauliflower in there and mix it up good so the cauliflower gets coated.
  7. Toss it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven at 450 for a half-hour.
  8. Sit down and eat absentmindedly while you do the crossword puzzle.
  9. They're like french fries with curry seasoning. Honest.
Now I have an entire head of cauliflower in my belly.

Thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things I'm Not Capable of Learning

Hey, you kids! I'll bet you thought that by the time you hit 45, you would (1) be too hideously wrinkly and pudgy to enjoy life, and (2) stop making the same dumb mistakes, because you hear that humans learn through trial and error and stuff.

And you would be right! About the wrinkles and fat!

Here are some things I will never learn:

  • to use the Chapstick before the hand cream (How many times do I have to struggle to pop the cap off of the Chapstick with greasy hands? Apparently some more times.);
  • to chop vegetables with the fingers rolled under (Note to self: buy more Hello Kitty Bandaids);
  • to pump my own gas (at least without fear of conflagration);
  • to look uncritically at photos of myself;
  • to allow photos to be taken of me without bizarre facial contortions;
  • to bluff at poker (apparently, it is not smooth to say "sh*t" when you look at your cards);
  • to stop at one piece of chocolate candy;
  • to remember to floss every night;
  • to break my semicolon habit (I love you, John Irving); and
  • to not buy clothes (a) over the internet, (b) in a hurry, or (c) from an intimidating salesperson.
And in that vein, I will report here that Drew drove approximately 60 miles to buy (bicycle handle-) bar tape yesterday.

So I'm not the only one for which age has not smoothed out all those little behavioral peccadillos (although it has allowed me the use of some obnoxiously hyper-lit words).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cats in Funny Boxes

Dave and Norrene:

If you did read my blog, you would appreciate this. Although you would appreciate it more if it were a PBR box.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Big Hair Is In

I put Scotty outside until he stops bleeding. It's because of the dog show.

Of course, as collie owners for the past 18 years, we made a beeline to the collie ring. If you are not aware, collies are the most beautiful, patient, and kind of all the dogs. Of course, they will have a quirk or two here and there, such as hating the UPS guy with a white-hot passion (RIP, Shelby), or fleeing like a POW at the first site of an opening (Annie, you idiot), or shedding like a flower girl with a basket of rose petals (all of the above), but if you don't mind the weekly brushing ordeal (and they are incredibly patient for the de-tangling and de-matting procedures in very personal places where you would never want to develop a tangled hair), they are the very best family dogs.

Where was I? The dog show. I have been to many dog shows, but have never actually been able to sit down and watch one, as I have always gone as a member of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, who hires us out as human pooper scoopers for the festivities. I'm sure I've blogged about the indignities (nasal, personal, and spinal) of that position in the past. Suffice it to say that I was ready to go to the show as a spectator.

I came away, not with a new respect for the breed ideal, or a name of a particularly stand-out breeder in my area, but with a deep shame for my own collie grooming habits. Scotty's feet look like he had been stomping on angora rabbits in snow shoes compared to the perfectly rounded, trimmed feet of the show collies. And the handlers kept spraying the collie coats with this magic solution. Sometimes they would spray and brush, spray and brush, but sometimes they would just spray. What's in there? Valium? Anyway, you get the idea. Perfect fluff balls with two perfectly tipped-forward ears (between the four collie ears in our house, one of them bends forward properly), one elegant snout, and four beautiful, round feet.

I came home to this.

So today, while I watched San Diego and Green Bay lose (bleh), I brushed Scotty like they said in the book -- mostly against the grain, and with a plain water spray (that's supposed to suffice in a pinch, they say). He looked a little peeved, but lovely. Then I started to work on the feet. I trimmed the hair as roundly as I could and then went for the nails. I don't like trimming his nails. He has many black ones, and you can't tell where the quick is. And when you find the quick by mistake, it hurts like hell (normal dogs squeal as if you chopped their foot off, collies pull their foot away and look at you as if you have betrayed them). Scotty pulled his foot away, but I didn't notice the blood until there were big red spots all over the carpet.

Frequent readers might remember a similar post involving Annie. I'm going to have to ask around about a professional groomer before I maim again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Big Canvas, Little Brain

In the middle of a big canvas. Leaves me with no room in the brain pan for word thingies. Here. Instead, you can look at my last completed painting. I call it She Who Watches The Oracle. Or The Oracle for short.

Drew knows an albino nutria whom he feels has oracular powers. He felt that she deserved a painting of her own. When I planned the painting, I thought she deserved an oracular setting, so I moved the great Northwest Indian petroglyph, She Who Watches, or Tsagaglalal (really), to the river bank, so She could keep an eye on her. According to an old Wishram legend, Tsagaglalal was the last of the female chiefs, before the world changed and females were no longer held in such esteem. Tsagaglalal was turned to stone by old Coyote and set in a place where she could watch her tribe forever.

The petroglyph is no longer in its original position due to vandalism of evil people, but State Park authorities lead regular guided tours in the summer.

If you need me, I'll be in the back yard scooping poop.

Friday, January 11, 2008

In Which Drew Faces New Competition for his Title of Captain America

Here's an article from The Advocate ("Covering West & Northwest Tasmania since 1890"), featuring our hero, Dean, on the far left, and his superhero friends, Kelyn Akuna and Eugene Chacherine, with their US Cycling Team coach, Des Dickie. Their "lack of experience" involves a favorite type of race at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, the handicap race, where beginners can go up against pros and everyone in between by racing from a staggered start. It's not raced much here, and certainly not in the same way. They got to learn by doing. You should be able to read the article by clicking on it.

Drew's nickname at the Fire Department has been Captain America, practically from the day he made Captain, stemming from his clean-cut, laced-up, by-the-book, helping-little-old-ladies-cross-the-street, return-the-penny-to-the-cashier style of captainage.

But now Dean shows up with an actual Captain America suit. That's gonna be hard to beat.

Here's an article from the Launceston, Tasmania Sunday Examiner ("serving Launceston since three weeks ago today, unless you count last Sunday when we slept in and decided to give the whole thing a pass"). This is a newspaper that knows how to hook you with the headline. Dean was not involved in this particular carnage-inducing event.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

And So Why Do MEN Like Men's Sports?

So how about them Seahawks? Great game today, if you are from the real Washington.

Off topic: why do television announcer types say "Washington" when they mean Washington, D.C., a place with a perfectly easily pronounceable, um, suffix, let's call it, and "Washington State" when they mean Washington, the only state in the union that is saddled with the need for a clarifier, just because eastern television news and sports commentators are too lazy to say "Washington, D.C." correctly? East coastism, is what I call it.

Back to football. I have enjoyed watching football since fifth grade. I can remember the day when I started liking football. It was the day I read the cover story of Sports Illustrated about Sonny Sixkiller, the then University of Washington quarterback, a sort-of local star, as we were living in Northwest Oregon.
Did I normally read Sports Illustrated? No, I did not. My dad certainly didn't subscribe to it. But fifth grade was boring, and the magazine was on hand, probably a year old by then and probably tossed in a pile of random reading material by Mr. Batty, our insane former 'Nam vet drill instructor teacher to coax the lazy boys to read.

One look at Sonny Sixkiller was enough to convince me that football was a good game to learn about. He was so, I don't know, so native, and smart, and dark and handsome. And kind of dangerous. And in his football uniform, he looked a lot better than the boys in my fifth grade class.
From that day on, I sat down with my mom on Sundays and watched her favorite pro team, the Green Bay Packers, and my favorite teams, the Oakland Raiders and the San Fransisco Forty-Niners (a budding west coastist) play.

Now that we both live in Washington (state, you east coastist, elitist pig!) and the Seattle Seahawks now exist, we have a common team. Dad still doesn't care much for football. Of course, he doesn't exactly watch with the same objective.

After all, we are red-blooded American women.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Paranoia, 2008 Style

We Felida-ites have been dutifully driving into the turn lane and back on our main drag for maybe a month now so as to miss a Qwest truck and his little maintenance tent seemingly permanently squatting there in the bicycle lane.

I hadn't really thought about how many times I have had to go around him until today. Then I started considering what the hell could be so broken that they have not been able to fix in three weeks.

I like to picture a guy in the wet, cold little maintenance tent, holding two wires together, waiting and waiting for his order for a wire-holder-together piece to come through the Automatic Qwest Red-Tape-A-Tronic 2000 (in need of an upgrade to 2010, which actually consists of a new number decal).

A second, more probable guess is that it is a CIA listening post, using Qwest materials, which would be brilliant, as common lore has it that Qwest was the only big telephone company to turn down the CIA's offer to help them with their, um, information storage (We'll just take it over here for a minute first. Be right back.)

If I can keep these sentence lengths up, I will be well on my way to junior college-level blogging. Cross your fingers.

In the meantime, as I fritter away the cold, wet afternoon thinking Bush-league paranoia thoughts, and considering tiling the hallway and kitchen as an alternative to a February vacation, my son is racing by the beach in Tasmania, swapping stories late into the night in a youth hostel, and traveling back to New Zealand to meet friends who seem a little too eager to drink to excess with him.

Just remember, Kiwi trouble makers: damage my American son and I will report you to the CIA. And Dick Cheney. There seems to be a hot line just down the street.