Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Not With Them...

Today the kids and I took the dogs for a walk.  It was a mild-weather day; it seemed like a great idea. 

Turned out, not so much.  The Labs spazzed like I have never seen them spazz before.  I mean, these guys acted like they'd never been on a walk before.

We walked our usual mile and a half loop.  We walked with our usual friends.  Nothing out of the ordinary.

Perhaps I should have recognized in the first three minutes of the walk that this would not be a fruitful venture...

Right off the bat, I forgot the garage door opener.  I was holding Indy's leash, and had just gotten down to the bottom of our drive when I realized I'd have to suddenly acquire Jeannie's magical eye squint and head bob to shut the door.  I groaned and coaxed Indy back up the drive with me to grab the opener out of my truck.  He strained (I wanna go on a longer walk!)  but finally trudged back up the drive with me. 

As I reached into the truck, Indy channeled his inner Mathew Wilder... "Ain't nothin gonna break my stride, Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no I got to keep on moving... Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride I'm running and I won't touch ground Oh-no, I got to keep on moving"... and lunged out of the garage.

I pieced myself back together, gave a good c'mere tug on the leash, and we walked back down the drive together. 

The rest of the outing followed suit.  Apparently, Jack and Indy both forgot how to walk.  They sort of weaved and bobbed in and out of trees, garbage cans, between my friend and I, clotheslining my friend several times  {Oops, sorry!   Sorry again!  Eesh, you okay?  Dumb dogs.}

They also forgot that they had, and for some time now, mastered continence.  I know they were excited, but good grief!  I was out of disposal bags by the third block. 

By the first mile marker, with little or no change in the dogs' doofy behavior, we took a short-cut back to the house, dropped them off in the back yard, and traversed on sans "man's best friends".

At dinner, Ken asked me how my day was.  I shot him an all-encompassing look. 
 Ken: That good, eh?  Was it the kids, the dogs, the bills or the laundry?
Me: (dramatic eyeroll and disgusted sigh) The dogs.
I went on to describe in great detail(can you believe no one wanted seconds?) the utter disaster the walk had been. 
Ken: How was Lucy in all of this?
Me:  (thinking for a minute) She was great!  In fact, I don't think she's ever been spazzy on a walk.  She walks straight, retains all bodily matter, and has a pleasant look on her face. 
Ken: Except today (smirking) I bet today she was like, 'I'm not with them; I've never seen them before in my life!'


Friday, January 28, 2011

She's a Keeper

At what point do we admit that we might actually be keeping Lucy?  Although we started out ending our sentences with "if we keep her", the frequency of this post-script is rapidly diminishing.  We took her to the veterinarian to get 'checked out', and ended up getting the whole enchilada: the Puppy Package.  We got her an engraved tag.  She has her own retractable leash, just like the big dogs, but smaller and in pink.  We bought her a sweater for the unusually cold nights.  {A sweater!  Us!} 

The yappy neighbor dogs don't bother us quite as much anymore.  Oh my gosh, we have become the yappy neighbor dog!  Well, Lucy barks voraciously at any wafting scent or moving target, and then we whistle for her to come inside.  Our neighbors *ahem* just ignore their little dogs' incessant barking.  Hopefully we will not become that kind of little dog owners.

That poses an interesting question: is it the little dogs or their owners whom I have previously held in contempt?  In having Lucy these past six months, I have learned so many thing that have torn down walls of misconceptions.  {the sweater, for example}  Having a little dog brings out the protector, the defender, the talk-baby-talk-voice in people.  (still hate that - especially when I catch myself doing it!)  Food for thought, I suppose.

So, here we are.  Lucy's been with us for six months.  We didn't expect to have her for six weeks.  Our list of requirements for an acceptable adoptive family grew each day we had her, until we realized somewhere along the line that we were describing ourselves.  We have all learned so much from Lucy.  She can be a crazy little thing, but she is mostly sweet, happy, and eternally optimistic.  She has brought the family together, and allowed us to feel like we accomplished something special together.

I guess you could say, She's a Keeper

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Try and Keep Her Quiet for Five Days or So..."

Was the vet kidding?  Five days?  Sure, most humans would be glad to bask in five glorious percocet-induced restful days, but a Terrier?  Huh-uh.  The first day after Lucy came home, we tried to keep her in her kennel as much as possible.  She was obliging.  However, instead of letting that rest-time speed her healing, I swear she was just storing up her energy for when she got out. 

Holy smokes!  When we did let her out, she tore around the room zero-to-sixty in three seconds flat, found her favorite toy & practically threw it at me - didn't even stop.  She gave each of us in the room a "C'mon, people, let's do something here." look.   It was like in There's Something About Mary when they give the dog speed.  Except Brett Favre did not show up.  At all.  {sigh} Oh, well.

Lucy's really doing remarkably well considering what she underwent.  She's getting the royal treatment(canned food instead of kibble) while the big dogs are beaming daggers in our direction.  She's tearing up the house until she crashes.  We're trying to cuddle her as much as possible, an attempt to "keep her quiet"... but what gives?  She's a dog.  A hyper little dog at that.  She doesn't understand all this.  Ken asked why she would still be running around so much and wouldn't that hurt?  I surmised that perhaps it was an "ow, ow, ow! Something's getting me.  I will out-run it." kind of thing.

Then last night, when all the craziness had taken a temporary hiatus, she and Jack had a moment:

(I think Jack is lobbying to be counted as a *little* dog)

Friday, January 21, 2011

How's the Porridge?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks.  She  went for a walk in the forest.  Pretty soon, she came upon a house.  She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry.  She tasted the porridge from the first bowl. 

"This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed.
So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.
"This porridge is too cold," she said
So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.
"Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily and she ate it all up.

We never bought a food bowl specifically for Lucy.  We have several cute bowls that have just worked.  The one that is the best fit is part of a dessert set.  There's a pink one, a blue one, a green one, and a yellow one.  She usually has the pink one.  A couple of days ago, I had poured some candy into the blue one, out of which we were happily popping Valentines SweetTarts while watching tv. 

Lucy sat staring at my husband and I.  We, in turn, were staring at the tv.  She was not rude or crabby(thank goodness that seems to have passed!)  She was not demanding or pushy.  She was just sitting.  Staring.  We were eating candy from a bowl.  Not the type of thing dogs normally beg for.  But she was persistent.  She followed our hand-to-mouth movements intently. 

This went on for a good 5 minutes (which is like 15 minutes to a dog)  Long time to patiently watch people eat candy.  Then it hit me.  Dogs are essentially colorblind.  She can't tell which color is which.  Imagine her curiosity, if not veiled indignation, to see Ken and I snacking out of 'her' bowl. 

"Someone's been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!"
~ Baby bear Lucy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's Pretty Quiet Around Here...

I just got a call from the vet's, and they say Lucy came through her surgery just fine(no word on whether we should expect 'menopaws' - sorry, couldn't resist)  She'll spend the night at the vet's for a little extra down time & healing.  Hopefully, this whole weekend can be quiet and restful.  I just re-read that.  Ha, ha, ha!  Well, we'll do our best.

Tonight, on the other hand, is rather quiet.  A picture of what once was.  Two Labs, albeit bored ones, are sprawled out on the big green pillow by the fireplace.  My 8th grader and I are at the kitchen table hashing out the pre-algebra problems we refused to deal with this morning.  There is no huffing, puffing, or growling(from the dogs anyway... the algebra homework is another story).  The kitchen floor is devoid of the sound of claws scrambling on the hardwood.  There isn't a single backyard yap to quiet.  I can't decide if the absence of little dog noise is peaceful or eerie.  Perhaps I'm growing. 

The title words of the Herman's Hermits song, "There's a Kind of Hush" are running through my mind unsolicited.  It's kind of catchy.  Can you hear it too?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's Up, Doc?

Lucy has not been very nice lately.  In fact, she has been downright nasty.   Right after the new year, she decided eating dog food simply didn't work for her any more.  If she could have, I think she would have rolled her eyes.  This is after we had relented and began serving her the big boy chow a month or so ago.  (I'm a BIG girl now, thank you very much!)  For the first few days of the year, she merely sniffed her food and walked away.  Indy's no fool.  "There's food there, and it's going to waste.  I will eat it."  This did not go over well with Lucy. 

I've had the pleasure of raising toddlers before, and know that sometimes a battle of wills ensues over food choice.  There are some battles worth fighting, while some are better left under a watch and wait stance.  This was clearly a battle over food selection.  The BIG dogs have gone through it once or twice.  There was nothing wrong with the food...  when she was hungry, she'd eat what was served.  Until then, no people snacks. 

After three days of combat, Lucy: 3; mom: 0, I grew concerned.  Indy's plumping up on the food he can embezzle, while Lucy's getting skinnier and way past cranky at anything that moves.  She is simply not interested in her food, but it's still hers.  If there's anything birth-order 'babies' know, it's when something is theirs.  No one else may have it.  Period.

Do you remember in Peter Jackson's, Lord of the Rings, when mild-mannered Bilbo Baggins saw his old ring on the chain around Frodo's neck, and went berserk?  Well, Lucy looked a lot like that.  (Here, I found a picture online.)  Great flick, scary still-frame.  Scarier as a cantankerous terrier.

Little Lu was scheduled for her "life altering" surgery last Thursday, but in light of her present mood, we relented.  She had gone from lack of interest in food to crazed mercenary hiding under the couch.  Not a good sign.  We re-scheduled with the vet for a consultation. 

In the meantime, Lucy was allowed special temporary privileges including sleeping upstairs in the kids' rooms.  She liked Allie's room, but it was too clean.  Nick's was alright - still clean, but on the plus side there were lots of blankets and a few stuffed animals.  Zack's room fit her just right.  The room is one big carnival of plush.  She could snuggle down and escape whatever was making her feel so lousy.

Murphy's Law can sometimes work in your favor.  Once the surgery was postponed, and the consultation appointment made, Lucy started to perk up a negligible amount.  She would eat a few bites of her food(well, we did pour pot roast drippings over it).  She stopped chewing Indy out so much.  Eventually, her tail resumed its familiar wagging and she appeared back to her rather pleasant self.  She seemed to be doing so well that we even tempted Mr. Murphy by cancelling the check-up. 

Today she made it on a walk with the pack, and is presently happily running about the room chasing balloons from a family birthday party.  (Happy Birthday, Allie!!!)

Here's to a happy, healthy Lucy... and a peaceful, albeit chaotic, household once more.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dirty Harry

Everybody remember the children's book, Harry the Dirty Dog?  Of course you do!  They were wonderful stories of the adventures of Harry, the white dog with black spots who didn't like to take a bath.  It all started when one day, Harry got out and got very, very dirty.  He got so dirty that his family didn't recognize him.  He finally convinced his family to give him a bath.  Then his family realized it was, indeed, Harry.  Classic.

Meet Dirty Lucy...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Price is Right

Well, Bob Barker would be proud.  We have just set a date with the Vet for Lucy to go through the big change.  Do dogs go through the same things as humans when they come out of the Dr's with less parts than they went in with?  Should we expect hot flashes?  Night Sweats?  Mood Swings?  Perhaps there is a flyer.  "Our Bodies, Ourselves: Canine Edition"? 

Lucy has been quite moody with the big boys lately.  I'm starting to see where the profane comparison of female dogs to grouchy women came from.  I wonder if this operation will mellow things out a bit.  Time will tell.  Empathetic to her upcoming procedure, I decided to look up a recipe for doggy cookies.  For what creature can remain un-cheered by cookies?  It's the least we could do. 

Many of you may know of Chica and Jo, and their website.   Maybe I have been under a rock, or perhaps a pile of laundry, but I just found it.  I was delighted.  They have all things crafty and creative *including* an awesome recipe for dogs treats(Peanut Butter ones, Yum!).  I couldn't help but love the fact that Chica mentions she loves dogs - BIG dogs(!) AND her giant German Shepherd is named Jack.  So, of course I felt an instant connection.  If you've never been there, then check them out

This evening my son Zack and I went to work on Project Feel-Better.  Jack, Indy, and Lucy stood dutifully by, asking with excited eyes if they could lick the spoons(but of course!)  This recipe was super easy, and smelled delicious!  We tested it out with just a half a batch, and I'm wondering if it will last until Little Lu comes home.  My guess is no. 

(Umm, yes, it was white flour.  Don't judge me!)

Thanks, Zack.  Looks nice!  Love the exclamation;)


Post Script ~ When each of the subsequent kids and my dear husband came downstairs to see what smelled so devilishly delicious, they all said, (with great indignation) "So are you baking Jack and Indy's names, too? " After all, we are a BIG DOG family, so why the little dog preferential treatment?  In my defense, Jack and Indy got to do a lot of sampling, and the whole batch was for all three dogs. In the end, loyalty to first loves won.  The Big Boys each have their own monogram cookie in the oven as I type.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bone Appetit!

The Christmas tree is still up at our house.  Yes, it's real.  Yes, it would probably go up like a tinderbox.  At first, I thought I'd use Epiphany as an excuse, but December 6th came and went.  There goes that.  I was confessing to my hair stylist today that the tree was still up.  She offered an excuse..."Do you still turn the lights on though?"  I slunk a little further in the chair... "yes"

Why should Christmas be over so soon?  It comes at the same interval every year, you'd think after thirty-some I'd have it down.  Halloween.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  New Year.  Wait eight months; repeat.  But I'm not done with it yet.  The tree lights will still go on.  Perhaps my procrastination could be blamed, in part, on the devastation that is under the tree.  A few stray boxes; some tissue paper; Scottish Shortbread & Chef Boyardee Ravioli and the deflated stockings from whence they came;  two DVDs; {no partridge} but a plethora of needles.  Once the denial is over and the tree comes down, it's a chore to clean up after Christmas.

But that's not what I started out to blog about today.  Today's blog is about the coolest dog present ever.  Certainly one of the most entertaining.  My director wannabe shot a funny video of the dogs "opening" their BIG present from Santa Christmas morning.

This bone was the envy of all three dogs.  As the weeks passed, the bone traded hands paws several times, and then back again.
Is it my turn yet?

Sure, as long as you know who's top dog though.

You stay on your end, and I'll stay on my end.

Who are we kidding, what's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine.

Indy had his turn, too

Lucy snuck in a few extra chews once Jack and Indy were fast asleep...

still sleeping...

he's out of it too...

so good

After two weeks of constant gnawing, licking, and hording, the bone turned into this ewwey gooey mess and slowly disintegrated. 




still going

how many licks does it take... one..two..three..


This afternoon, all that was left was the knuckle bone.

And with that, I'm off to take down my Christmas tree.  *sigh* 
Wishing you a fun-filled weekend, and a Bone Appetit!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

We call them 'beard buddies'

 I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him...
And I will give him security! And I will keep him warm like a mother hen, so he will never feel rejected or lack for love.
~Hugo, the Abominable Snowman
(courtesy Looney Tunes)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goals & Post-its

In our family, we have a clash of opinions regarding the celebration of and traditions held on New Year's.  My husband is a strict "Resolutions" man, where I am a flit-y float-y "Goals" kinda gal.  I believe it's all in the motivation.  Are you 'resolved' to do something, or merely planning on getting around to it?  I figure if I'm resolved, and then do not continue my resolution past say, January 5th, then I have failed, and I will have to wait 360 days to try again.  This is neither encouraging nor motivational to me.  Now if I have goals, that's just vague enough to not be restricted to any given time-line.  A goal is simply a glorified 'list item'.

I'm a list-maker extraordinaire.  Post-its are my best friend in the entire world.  They are the modern day equivalent to the proverbial string-around-the-finger.  (I picture Uncle Billy from It's a Wonderful Life)  They are the perfect place to unpack a scrambled brain full of things to do, places to go, quotes to remember.  My kitchen cabinets are covered in post-its.  I have three magnetic notepads on my fridge.  The school table has post-its of all sizes(mostly the book-marky sizes), my bedside table has notepads, even my bathroom counter has a sticky-note pad and pen(sometimes the best ideas come when brushing one's teeth!) 

Everyone knows the best thing about lists is crossing things off of them.  When making a to-do list, I even write in already accomplished items for the day, just for the satisfaction and further motivation of drawing that coveted line through said things. 

The other sneaking thing experienced list makers do is to include the things we know we aren't going to do, or know we can save for another day.  This way, we can convince ourselves we're just too busy to clean out that closet, or assuage our feelings of guilt by reminding ourselves that the gym will be open tomorrow as well.  There are some things on my lists that I will only do when I loathe the other things more.  Most days, it's a toss-up between laundry and bills.  An example...

1. Return books at library(easy)
2. Go to bank(no prob)
3. Go to gym(ha ha ha ha!)
4. Clean out closet(never going to happen)
5. Pay bills(eh - how much laundry do I have?)
6. Do laundry(eh - how many bills do I have?)
7. Make dinner(we gotta eat sometime, and I don't see anyone else looking in the pantry for fixin's)
8. Tidy up (this can always be moved to another day)
9. Walk dogs(seriously.  they're going nuts from being cooped up)
10. Ask if anyone has fed the dogs because they look very hungry(they're actually just quite good at that look)

I don't suppose dogs ever keep lists in their heads, but perhaps a short-term goal list would go something like this:

1. wake up; find someone to feed you
2. eat; convince someone else that you haven't yet been fed
3. eat again
4. tap on the slider to go outside
5. turn right around and tap to come back in
6. nap
7. try and communicate you want to go for a walk
8. give up and nap some more
9. eat again
10. look as sad and as hungry as you can while begging for dinner scraps or a second helping of food

And now, a story within a story about Post-its.  I am not paid or employed by the Post-it company, but as I have mentioned, I love them.

About a week before Christmas, a funny thing happened.  I ran out of post-its.  Now, I still had my magnetic refrigerator notepads, my night stand stash, and even one or two on the upstairs counter, but my go-to kitchen stash in the "junk-drawer-that's-not-really-junk" was devoid of post-its.  Ugh, it drove me nuts.  Upon what would I write to remind myself to go get more Post-its?  With the holiday rush, I had simply neglected to plan ahead. 

On New Year's Eve eve I finally made it to the store on a mission for one thing:  Post-its.  I settled on a three-pack of recycled paper stickies with lines(love those lines!)   Ahh.  Now, the lists may continue.  My first item?  "Buy more Post-its"

The End.
As for 2011 goals?  My list starts with the basics: read more, watch less; listen more, yell less; walk the dogs more, procrastinate less(if I get around to it).   Some things I'd love to do or try in 2011... more close-to-home trips with the dogs, vegetable share delivery, more outdoors activities in general, and to finally get the last two years of family photos into albums.  With all that traveling with the dogs and trying new vegetables, I'm sure to be very busy.  Not sure if I'll have enough time to do the picture albums...

How about you?  What are your top goal items for the new year?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Going Places in 2011

Happy New Year!
I love the new year.  A fresh start, a clean slate, and motivation to tackle everything from weight loss to clutter to enriching the mind & soul.  Well, for a couple of days at least!

For my middle-school graduation, the teachers at our school read us the book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss.  I still 'get' something out of this book every time I read it.  It was a favorite with my kids when they were younger, and one of their childhood books that I saved(How can you give away Dr. Seuss?!).  In fact, I dug through the baskets of kids' books this week to pull it out and re-read it to my kids.  Have you read it lately?  May I suggest pulling it out of your collection, or looking it up at your local library?  For who can't be encouraged by lines like...
You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

Step with care and great tact
 and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you. 

And when things start to happen
don't worry.  Don't stew. 
Just go right along. 
You'll start happening too.

What places are you going in 2011?

"For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."   Jeremiah 29:11