Monday, November 17, 2008

LOLCats on

Here's our response:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's Time for Energy Independence!

"Sometimes it takes a crisis to awaken us from our slumber. But once aroused, the American people can accomplish miracles." - T. Boone Pickens

Join me as a member of the Pickens Plan

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Martha's Got Lungs

I crated the new girls together in a size 500 varikennel in the kitchen around 9:30 pm. Martha started hollering. She hasn't stopped yet. After half an hour I removed her from the communal crate, put her in one by herself, and covered it with a sheet. She continued to holler. Finally my nerves just couldn't take any more; I put her in the laundry room, with the light off hoping the darkness would encourage her to go to sleep, and closed the door. It's 12:30 am and she's still hollering. She's not lonesome, she's not hungry, she's not scared, she's mad. "Nobody confines ME, lady! Let me OUT of here!! " The other two have been sleeping soundly since shortly after I put Martha in the laundry room.

Martha was Daddy's Girl, and indulged. She's confident and very, very stubborn. Martha, you've met your match. I'll out-stubborn you if it takes all night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time Flies

I can't believe it's the end of July already. Summer's short enough as it is, why does it have to fly by so fast?! I already notice it's getting dark earlier in the evening and light later in the morning; makes me grateful for every minute of daylight, and loathe to waste a minute of it.

Sydney will be going to his new home the first week of August. And I may be placing Max with the mother of one of the parents of Sydney's family. (I'll miss the hell out of Max, I absolutely adore him, but he's so adoptable I can't justify keeping him myself, and I know he'd absolutely love living somewhere he could get all the lap time and all the cuddling he wants.) I just got a great application for Hambone, I'm hoping to do this home visit this weekend. They feed super-premium food, believe in crate training, intend to take him to obedience class, are advocates of positive training methods (and used words like "redirect" and "reward" on the app) - basically, everything I'm looking for in a home for a puppy.

It's been 5 weeks since Ginger broke her leg. We went for a re-check yesterday, Dr. B took the splint off and did a new x-ray. The bones are healing beautifully and Dr. B said "that's a lot straighter than I thought it would be!" (Gee, now you tell me! She cracked up.) She also said "if you can keep her quiet/confined for the next couple of weeks, I think she could go home without the splint." But I don't want to take any chances, and I know Ginger is a lot happier running around on her splint than she would be confined to her boudoir, so I had the vet put the splint back on. I can take it off myself in a couple of weeks. Ginger will have to be closely supervised (and confined when I can't supervise) for a week or so afterward, while putting weight on her un-splinted leg hardens the new bone, but that's OK.

Ginger loves me. I discovered she loooooooves to go for rides in the car, so I take her along whenever possible. She curls up between and just in back of the bucket seats, and allows me to pet her. She also gives my right elbow kisses when I'm not petting her. I took her to my mom's with me last week and she did pretty good, but when I had to run up to the corner store for something and left her there with Mom for the 10-minute round trip, mom said she didn't stop running back and forth looking for me until I walked back in the door. She's back to sleeping in bed, and with our morning cuddle sessions she gets less and less timid every day. I coo "come clooooooser, sugar, come cloooooser" at her and she inches forward playfully until she reaches my face, then she gives me lots of kisses before backing off a few feet. Then she'll settle down there and wait for me to pet her. A couple of days ago I was even able to roll her onto her side and tickle her tummy. (She loves tummy tickles, but usually prefers to stand up to get them.) She still is afraid to let me catch her so she's still dragging a piece of leash I can step on if necessary, but she's even getting better there, too - she'll come within a foot or two of me instead of running away from me, and most times she doesn't try to get away from my hands reaching for her. This morning, when I wanted to lift her down off the bed and told her "up" as I reached for her, she didn't try to get away from me but hunkered down and waited for me to pick her up. I talk to her, and she wriggles and dances and her tail wags wildly. We still have a long way to go before she's adoptable, but she's made huge progress in 4 months.

Chu Chu is the funniest little dog. The serious, plodding little fluffball of a couple of months ago has metamorphosed into a running, jumping, wagging, all that and a bag of chips little girl whose antics make me laugh. Even a month go, if she was out in the big yard and I called her, her gait was still careful and plodding. But that all changed when I made the decision to keep her and told her she was staying here. (Actually, she made the decision. I just gave in.) The dogs who sleep with me (Penny, Dudley, Sparky, Chooch, Ginger, Ruby, and sometimes Max) get access to the big yard first thing in the morning, before I bring them in and put the big dogs out there and close the gate. Yesterday morning when I called Chooch she came running and bouncing with abandon, such a confident, happy, normal little Shih Tzu. I got all choked up remembering what she was like when she first got here, how amazing her transformation has been. I'm so grateful she was able to survive and escape the horror of the puppymill where she was held captive for four years. I adore this little dog.

My summer term obedience class didn't get enough enrollees to make it worthwhile, so we cancelled it. After I'd sent my information in for the fall term I got a note from the Parks and Rec director asking if I would consider a night other than Monday, because she just couldn't make it work. I said sure, I'd be happy to do Wednesday or Thursday. It might allow folks who wanted to come to class but couldn't make Monday night for one reason or another to enroll. It'll also avoid the scheduling problem with elections. The building I teach in is a polling place, and they set the machines up the night before. Whenever there's an election of any kind I have to hold that week's class later in the week, and the schedule change wreaks havoc on class attendance, not only the off-week, but for the rest of the term. When I only have 7-8 dogs to begin with and half the class stops attending half way through the term, it makes some of the important practice exercises we do later in the term very difficult to do. Pass the dog. Practice the CGC test "friendly dog distraction" exercise. I work a lot harder and have to be much more creative when there are fewer students than when I have a full, or nearly-full, class.

I got the carpet up in half of the dining room, and the floor underneath is in much better shape than the floor in the kitchen was. I got another gallon of primer, and bought the paint for the living and dining room floors a couple of weeks ago. I love the color, and can't wait to see it on the floor. I got more wood filler - for the crack between the sheets of plywood that occurs at the kitchen threshhold - late last week and got the crack filled on Sunday. I need to sand it down and do a little touch up, then it'll be ready for priming and then painting. I've been getting the tack strips up little by little, and removing baseboards. (All the baseboards need to be repositioned almost an inch lower so they meet the floor. But it'll be a lot easier to paint the walls without them, and I'll be able to paint the baseboards outside on newspaper all at once, so I won't have to do any taping to protect the walls or floors before I paint them. All I'll have to do is nail the baseboards back on and touch up the tiny finishing nail holes with a q-tip dabbed in paint.)

After taking a couple of months "off" from knitting regularly, I'm back to knitting - and crocheting - about 6 different projects, working on one or two different ones as I sit in the evening and watch/listen to the baseball game. I'm knitting a feather-and-fan shawl in Wool-Ease that may end up being my mom's Christmas gift, and I'm crocheting a rectangular granny-square afghan using all the Wool-Ease I have left over from other projects. (This might end up being my sis and DBIL's Christmas present if the colors come together and aren't too wild and crazy. If it looks tacky, I'll keep it for myself. I don't care what it looks like, as long as it's warm!) I'm knitting a pair of pastel purple socks for my mom to go with her Red Hats outfits, and I'm working on 3 different pairs of socks for myself. One pattern is cabled (not difficult, but slower because of the cabling), one is an easy pattern, and I just started the third last night and am only still on the cuff. Once the cuff is long enough I'll see how the colors are working together; from what I see so far, a plain stockinette stitch may show off the yarn best. It's a very pretty hand-painted yarn with all different shades of blue with a little purple.

A few months back I got some undyed super-wash merino sock yarn that I want to try hand-painting myself. There's enough yarn in this hank for 4 pairs of socks, so I can do 4 different colorways. Last month, I bought a dozen different colors of Kool-Aid to use as dye. Before I do any of that, though, I want to make myself a yarn swift, so I don't have to do all the winding manually. I think I can make a pretty satisfactory one with stuff I've already got here, I've just got to get motivated to do it. But if I'm going to use any of this yarn to make Christmas presents, I'd better get my tush in gear. Which takes me back to where I started this post - the summer is just flying by!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Busy, Busy

I've been neglectful, again. In my defense, I've been busy.

Ginger's broken leg is healing, and she's getting a little more socialized, but she is still leery about being picked up. She comes close, almost close enough to touch, and her tail wags wildly while she happy-dances, but she's still not sure it's OK for me to pick her up. Even with her cast she's so fast I can't catch her, so she's back to dragging a leash again. But she does come close enough so I can step on her leash, and she knows that's what I'm going to do so she's deliberately putting herself close enough to catch. She doesn't mind sitting on my lap so much any more, and she's even fallen asleep there a couple of times. Now that she's got a regular splint on and she can get around more easily - and there's less chance she'll get stuck on something - I've been giving her a little more house time. She loves the other dogs, and I was amused to see she's got a special affection for Ruby the Cavalier. She loves Ruby as much as she loves Penny, and she loves to be able to curl up with one or the other, so as long as I can supervise I let her be free in the living/dining rooms.

Mrs. Parker went to her new home yesterday. I'd gotten half a dozen applications for her, but none of them were a good match. But this home has turned out to be perfect for her, and she's just what they were looking for, so everyone's happy. She was a bit of an odd-dog-out here, she tolerated the other dogs but preferred not to interact with them. She'll be very happy to be an only dog. And she could be an annoying little noodge, when she wanted something she'd bark-bark-pause, bark-bark-pause. Persistently. She's one of those dogs I'm happy to see go, both for her and for me. And the timing is serendipitous, I got a call this morning from the woman I got Sparky from, someone dumped a puppy in her yard last night and she wanted to know if I have room for him. I didn't have room yesterday, but I do today! She's going to see if perhaps he's just lost, but she's pretty sure he was dumped so he'll probably be coming in a day or two. She thinks he's about 3 months old, he weighs 6 pounds; hopefully he's cute and will place fast.

I got the carpet up on the stair between the kitchen and the front hallway. As I do every time I pull up more carpeting, I found sloppy work below. It's a cement step, it used to be outside. It's got chips in it, some of them very large, and it doesn't go all the way across the hallway. They put a couple of wood blocks next to it, to extend the width. I can't paint it the way it is, I can't remove the blocks without having to patch in a couple pieces of drywall. I decided the best thing to do is make a plywood cover for the step - one piece the depth of the step and placed on top of it, a short riser from the front to the hallway floor, and a short riser from the back to the kitchen floor. Didn't have a clue how I was going to get a sheet of plywood home, though. I stopped at the lumber yard this morning on my way back from the s/n clinic (Brie and, finally, Ruby, plus I transported a mini-Dachsie from this area) and they had a 2' X 4' piece of 1/2" plywood. It's exactly what I needed, and it fit easily in the car. I forgot to get nails, but maybe it's better to use screws anyway.

When I go back to get the dogs this afternoon, I'm going down a little early so I can stop at Costco and get food, and then at Home Depot to pick up another gallon of sealer/primer and a gallon of the Behr floor paint I picked out for the living/dining room. I've re-thought the color I want to use on two of the dining room walls, and on the trim for the other 2 walls and the living room wall. I'd picked a pale blue-green for two of the dining room walls and the trim in the living room, and I'd picked a pale green-blue for the bedroom walls. I picked a color that falls right between the two, and I'm going to use that color on the bedroom walls, two of the dining room walls, and for the trim on the other living and dining room walls. One gallon ought to be enough for both the BR and DR walls, so it'll save me the cost of a pint of paint for the two DR walls if I'd gone with the original color. That blue works very well with the dark teal floor paint I like, so that's what I'm going to use in the LR/DR instead of the "Cedar Plank" brown.

I've moved The Chooch's Petfinder listing to the Happy Tails (adopted) page. I got a few apps for her, nothing quite right, and she decided she wants to stay here. She loves Dudley, she loves Penny, she adores Sparky, she thinks the cats are great to snuggle up and sleep with, and the other day I caught her snuggled up to Lumi's rump, with her head resting on his hip. She doesn't want to go anywhere else, she likes it just fine right here thank you very much! Who am I to argue with such a determined little missy?

The cats emptied the dry food bowl this morning, and I don't have anything to fill it up with until I get back later. By that time, they'd have gotten into everything they could possibly get into, looking for food, so I put out 8 6-oz. cans a few minutes ago, and now I've got sated, sleepy cats who'll last until I get home with more dry food in 5 hours. Sleeping cats, sleeping dogs, and I'm off for an hour nap myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

At Last, a Break in the Weather

Last week was just plain nasty. Very hot, very humid, and lots and lots of thunderstorms and just plain rain. I was uncomfortable, the cats and dogs were uncomfortable, everyone I met was uncomfortable. It was a little cooler yesterday, but it was still quite warm (83). Today the humidity has gone and it's dry and breezy, and supposed to reach a high of 80. The week coming up is supposed to be sunny, dry, and in the mid 70's, so I should be able to get a lot of work done outside during the day, and a lot of work done inside after dark. It's been too humid for paint to dry quickly and thoroughly, so I've gotten nothing done this past week as far as that goes. At least I have more energy now that it's cooler.

The change in the weather has had a profound effect on the animals, too. Everyone's raring to go. Sparky and Dudley have been playing tag and wrestling for over an hour straight so far, and show no signs of slowing down. They are awfully cute together, and it's clear they really love each other. Of course, ChuChu loves Sparky, too. A little too much. But he doesn't seem to mind.

I've got 3/4 of a gallon of paint leftover from the bathroom. I think I'm going to use that in the L-shaped hallway that goes from the kitchen to the family room, past the front door. I'll have to check that color, and the hallway tile, against the color I've picked for the living room trim, but I'm pretty sure it'll work. I'll have plenty of trim paint left over from the living room, and I can use it in the hallway.

I'm taking Sydney and Ginger to be speutered tomorrow. I'll make a quick side trip to Costco for food when I go back to pick them up. Then I've got to get home and get them settled in pretty quickly, so I can leave to be at my Mom's by 6:30. There's a come one, come all choir up there that does a gospel concert every summer to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Mom's participated for years now, and last year she finally talked me into going up for the concert. I really enjoyed it, and there was lots of opportunity to sing along. Afterward, the director mentioned that I'd be welcome to join them this summer. I haven't sung in a choir in 20 years, so both my voice and my sight-reading skills are pretty rusty, but that should come back fairly quickly once I'm working it again. I'll have to find out what the rehearsal schedule is, and whether or not it would conflict with my summer-term Monday night class before I can commit, but I hope I can participate. (My summer class might not get enough enrollments, anyway.)

Last week, the bank along the creek that I pass on the way to the spay/neuter clinic was covered with flowers. I took these pics a week ago Thursday, on the dismal rainy day:

I was past there yesterday, and the flowers are all gone now. Such a brief display, but such a pretty one!

Ginger continues to progress, a teeny bit more every day. Right now she's sitting about 6 feet from me, and every time I look at her she grins and her tail wags like crazy. Her tail wags when I talk to her. Her tail wags when I look at her. She readily takes treats from my fingers now, and actively solicits more. She still doesn't want me to "catch" her, or hold her, but she''ll even tolerate that when she's in a pickle, like when she's stuck on top of the woodpile and needs help getting down. She and Ruby climb the wood pile on the patio and nap on top of it, where they're not bothered by crazy puppies. Ruby can get down by herself, but Ginger can't. She barks at me to come get her, and her tail wags like crazy even though she hunkers down like she doesn't want me to pick her up, but she doesn't move away from my hands, either, and allows me to lift her up and carry her inside. She's a funny little thing. She sure loves Penny, whenever she can she snuggles up to her big, solid, non-threatening friend. I want to start some clicker training with her, see if that helps her come around more quickly.

I've got jelly jars in the dishwasher, and cherries draining in the collander. I need to make a quick run to the store, but I'm going to make cherry jam when I get home. I need to get the rest of the meatballs and sauce bagged into individual servings and into the freezer. I got a ham last week that I need to cook tonight; tomorrow I'll grind up a lot of what's left and take some to Mom tomorrow for sandwiches. I've had a craving for scalloped potatoes and ham. I don't know if I'll get around to making it with this ham, but if I've got time and it's cool enough to use the oven in the next couple of days, I might give it a shot. I need to finish getting things into the garden, too, or I'll still have all unripened veggies when the first frost hits!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rainy Days and Thursdays

It's a very dismal, wet, foggy day here. I was up very early this morning because I had to take a group of dogs to the spay/neuter clinic, and the fog was so bad I could barely see my pole barn from the house. Despite the gloom, the ride down to the interstate was beautiful; everything is so green, heavy with drizzle, and softened by the fog. There's one spot that's always pretty, but this morning it was absolutely gorgeous - wild blue-purple flowers carpeting the south bank of a little creek, cupped in a hollow of hardwood trees in full leaf. I'm going to try to remember to take my camera with me on the return trip, and take a few pics along the way.

I saw a dog standing at the end of a driveway at the edge of the road, and though I was already running late I couldn't just leave him there to get hit, so I turned around and went back. I chased him up the driveway and he ran behind a tree, when I followed him I saw he'd gotten back into his yard. I found the spot I think he got out and did what I could to block it at least temporarily, then I left a note on the door saying I'd found the dog in the road and had put him back in the yard, but they needed to fix that spot! I didn't see him on my way back, so I hope he was still in his yard. I'll check again on the return trip this afternoon.

I took Sparky and ChuChu along for the ride, I like to have company coming home after dropping dogs (and cats) off at the clinic. (On the way down, I had a pile of three beagle mix puppies snuggled in between the bucket seats, next to my hip and under my elbow. Sweet, snuggly babies.) As we got about 5 miles from home, a line of thunderstorms caught up with us. ChuChu got very agitated, and tried desperately to get into my lap, or under my feet. I had a hard time holding her to prevent her from getting there. Poor thing, I'll bet she went through lots of thunderstorms unsheltered. It wasn't until we were almost to the house that she started to calm down a little, perhaps realizing that the car was protecting her.

I'm going to be a sort of sattelite scheduler for the s/n clinic. When I book appointments in advance, they're going to tell me how many other slots are open, and for what (cat or dog, male or female, large or small). Then they'll give my number to anyone from this area who calls and is interested in transport, have me schedule the appointments for the day I'm going down, and get the consent paperwork ready. Then I can have folks drop their pets off here and transport them down and back with my own, for $10 per dog, or per carrier. That'll at least pay for my gas, and the bagel and coffee I like to get at New York Bagel for the morning drive home. All I have to do is call them a couple of days in advance and tell them what I've already booked, and they'll schedule any other open slots themselves.

I stopped yesterday and picked up a few plants for my garden that I didn't have seeds for - regular and pickling cukes, habanero peppers, another heirloom tomato, regular watermelon (instead of the Sugar Babies I grew last year), and a Big Bertha bell pepper. If we get a break in the rain, I'm going to do a little planting this afternoon. It would be the perfect day to transplant. I also got a tall, double shepherd's hook plant hangar last week, for two more hanging tomatoes; I hope it's easier to get into damp ground than it was trying to get it into dry ground. I may have to use a sledgehammer anyway, to put it in the spot I prefer it to be.

After finishing the half bath (except for a little touch up), I've reconsidered using the Sensations paint on both walls and trim. I think I'm going to use Ace's regular semi-gloss for the trim, I can get it tinted to the colors I want and I think it'll cover the white semi-gloss that's already there in one coat. (The Sensations satin finish needs 2 coats.) I like the look of the semi-gloss better, and it's less expensive; not by much, but it'll save a couple of bucks and hours of re-coating.

I got one corner of the family room cleared, and I'm going to get a patch of the carpet and pad pulled up by bedtime, so I can put it out with my trash tonight. I've been kind of stuck, not knowing what order to do things in so it'll flow the smoothest, but I think it makes most sense to get the carpet out of the family room first even if I don't paint the floor in there until later. The concrete will clean easily enough until it's painted. And once I've got some room in there I can move stuff out of the living room so it'll be easier to get the walls in there painted. I haven't checked yet, but I suspect I'm going to have to pull the base molding off the walls before I paint them. If the folks who lived here before put the carpet down and then the baseboards, there'll be a gap between the baseboards and the floor so I'll have to pull the baseboards and reposition them after I paint the walls so they're flush with the floor. It'll help to have somewhere to move enough furniture (and crates) out of the living room so that I can easily access a whole wall, and then work one wall at a time. When the walls are done, I'll pull the carpet, replace the baseboards, and paint the trim. Then finish by painting the floor.

I did some stocking-up grocery shopping yesterday. Ouch. You know, when you look at the price on a single item you think "yeah, well, it's gone up in price, but 20-30-40 cents really isn't that much." But the cumulative total is shocking. I gasped when I heard it. And this was at Sav-A-Lot, where the prices are lower, sometimes lots lower, than other grocery stores. I got a 2.5 pound package of ground chuck, I'll make a big pot of meatballs later today or tomorrow, divide it into individual servings, and freeze. (Speaking of which, I need to clean out the refrigerator and freezer later, so that'll go into the trash that'll be picked up tomorrow too, and won't sit for days in the sun in the trash cart.) I'll take a couple bags of meatballs and sauce to Mom, too. I got a picnic shoulder ham, after a dinner of ham and slicing up enough for sandwiches, I'll grind and freeze the rest to make ham salad with. (And take some to Mom.) I'm going to start making my own bread again, too; even if it doesn't save much off the grocery bill, at least it won't be stale in a day or two.

This rain makes me want to crawl back in bed so bad. Guess I'd better get up and get working before I give in and do just that.