Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Howling

Today I'm going too see how long it takes Rocket to finish a bag of dog food. Rocket is right now very annoyed with me, I took away one of his toys because it had become upbraided and I think he swallowed one of the "arms" and he gaged on it.

Its gone now. He feels that a little gagging isn't that big a deal and should remove the toy from the trash and return it to him. I think he can chew on his over sized Kong toy. I think I need to buy him more toys. He used to have a lot of toys but time and teething has really cut down the ranks. If he doesn't have an adequate supply of toys he has the nasty habit of making his own toys and nobody wants that. Its much cheaper to go to Big Lots and invest in a a handful of rubber toys than it is to invest in new shoes or new pillows or a new coffee table. He's not as little as he used to be.

Why do all dogs think Keep Away is such a fabulous game? I hate this game. I don't want to play chase and I do not want to go spelunking down a doggy throat to see what both of us find so valuable. Apparently we both find a piece of yarn to be very, very important and we both want it very badly. I decided that what he really wanted was some nice peanut butter smeared inside his bone. At least I know what he has in his mouth.

I;m sitting here watching Rocket chew and  the wind howl. Its times like this that I am forever grateful that the big giant tree all ready came down - not that there was any danger of that healthy specimen voluntarily coming down on its own, but that's hind sight now. It looked like it was ready to crush my house at any time, I know it wasn't going to topple over  on my house at least,now, but it did get uprooted and it came down with or without its cooperation. But its gone now and the wind can howl all it wants.

I might still take Rocket for a walk out in it, its blustery but the wind is warm and its wild in a very interesting way and unlike Daisy, Rocket doesn't mind a little sound and fury.  And as long as its dry sound and fury ... wet sound and fury he still doesn't care for.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dear old golden rule days

In honor of the first day it wasn't raining or snowing or sleeting or being too damn cold,  or while being a combination of the above all at the same time. Rocket and I took a long walk downtown and then we came back home and I celebrated by giving him an entire can of wet dog food, and I very slightly undercooked a chicken breast on the stove. Slightly, as in not really "undercooked" but more like produced a chicken breast a lot more juicy than my usual slightly overcooked chicken breast I usually make for myself.

 I was starving after our long walk and once the chicken wasn't pink anymore I declared it was done enough. It was a Julia Child's recipe I looked up so I could use my new Herbs de Provence I bought at TJ Maxx, my house smells very good now. The chicken, post a stay in the toaster oven, will be outstanding on the second night.

Another reason to celebrate, I signed Rocket up for Dog School today. It will be his first foray away from home, up until now he's been home schooled with a tutor but its time for him to go off to public school with the other kids. He starts on Ash Wednesday, actually, I start om Ash Wednesday, there is an orientation session for the dog people that first night and then the following week the dogs start school.

The class is going to mix basic obedience and intro to agility equipment. I think its going to be a good learning experience for him and for me. I also think forcing us to be around other dogs is going to help us both, me more than him because thus far he seems to like other dogs.  I am really hoping that I don't some how pass on to him my irrational fear of other dogs/dog aggression PTSD I developed with Daisy and I think this will be a good way for me to overcome it and for him to never come across it. The school has a whole curriculum of classes for the dogs to take over time and there is a wide assortment of majors to chose from.  I think it will be a good  thing for us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Hard Way

You know what I'm looking forward to next in Rockets' potty training odyssey? Other than of course, actual permanent potty training, I am looking forward to in addition to the  mythical promise of potty training, I am looking forward to eating lunch at lunch.

It's been a long time, I haven't had a nice quite lunch in months! I haven't picked up a book since before I brought him home! The battery on my Kindle died from lack of use and I have had whole issues of Entertainment Weekly gather dust! Its just too wrong.

The next step with Rockets training, now that he is exactly 28 weeks old, or 6.4 months, is to begin to start not coming home for lunch. I've been forced to experiment with it in the past, to predictability soggy results but I think that he's older now and I think is time to start the process. I really can't come home for forever, and he is not going to learn that he can hold until he has to hold it.

Today we started Operation Sit. Months ago, in Puppy Pre-School he learned the command and what that word meant, and he would do it, kind of, as long as the instructor was there. He wasn't as good as doing it for me but my emphasis was on Coming When Called and this was what I chose to really concentrate on and today, he comes when called. He does not however "sit" on command. Yet.

On our walk today I learned that he is very food motivated. He won't sit on the command but he will at sight of the treat and no treaty no sitty. We then worked on sitty-no-treaty because he is a dog and I am his master and when I say "sit" it is not a negotiation and I do not want to make deals with him.

But, he is till young and open to bribery and that is how you train a dog. You say "sit" and stands and looks at you. You say "sit" and push his back end down. He spins in circles. You firmly repeat "SIT", once and push his back end down and he sits, grudgingly. You  tell him he's a "Good Dog!" and reward him with a bit of bit of treat and you keep this up until the first time you don't have to push his back end down first and then you give him an extra big Good Boy and a whole treat for his good work.

And then you do this over and over and over and over. And he will refuse to do it over and over and over and over. Until he just does it and you pass out from sheer joy and exhaustion. And this is how you teach your dog every skill.  That first "Sit" on command? four thousand repetitions - if the dog is a genius, otherwise you can tack twenty-five  hundred more on for an average dog. The proses of teaching "Stay" will make you re-evaluate your entire philosophy of life.

You don't even want to get into "roll over".

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Wallyland

And how was your weekend? Here we apparently experienced winter. It was a shock. A cold, wet, ultimately short-lived shock. Did you know that in the absences of a real ice scraper you can use a paper bag to the same effect? No, no you can not, it does not work at all well and leaves your with wet gloves and an icy windshield. You can  however sit in your car for fifteen very cold minutes while you defroster does its job though.

Its not as wide or and nice or as well made as the almost identical one I bought Brosky, but this one cost $4 and lives in my car. Now.

Here are some terrifying photographs of the winter carnage

School got out early for this.

Thanks to the less than  inviting weather outside I did get a lot of indoor work done. I did a lot of laundry, put a lot of laundry away, made dog cookies, did some tidying, ran the dishwasher  multiple times, made myself some mac and cheese with ground turkey with garden grown peppers and tomatoes, watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, had Rocket field test all three of this winter coats- we had three separate weather patterns to contend with! It wasn't just vanity. It is important to match your outer wear to the weather. You don't want to go into a blizzard with a windbreaker any more than it would be a good idea to wear your parka when a lighter coat would do. Now he has healthy options available to him, cute options but that is totally irrelevant, this is about his health.

And then the ice melthed and I was able to escape my house and go run errands.  I bought a birthday girft for my nephew and got some sausage on sale! Not at the same place even! One of our trips out was to Wallyworld - I know, shocking. I was coming back to my car when I saw what looked like a bird down by a car. There were a lot of birds around and I thought one was hurt.

I got out of my warmed up car to go investigate this. Cursing the decaying moral fiber of my fellow Walmart shoppers all the way. I got closer to the injured bird only to discover it was  not a bird. Went back to my car cursing my fellow shoppers for not stopping to check on the not bird themselves. Grumble.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging


I want everyone to know that I have done my part to prevent the bad weather. The car needed gas and I went out in the dark and the cold and put gas in my car. Thank You

I'm still thinking about agility training . Some of the skills we can do just by doing what we're doing : Leaping, climbing, balancing... but there are some other skill sets that its harder to practice when you are doing gorilla training.

Today we found poles! Poles are an important part of the agility course and so far the only thing we haven't worked on, mostly because I didn't know about them. Here is what traditional agility poles look like

Here is what our poles look like

There are some significant differences, clearly. But it does give us the chance to work on learning about "in and out" and "back and forth" and other skills that don't nessarly come naturally and are not easy to learn. I'm not sure exactly how you are supposed to teach a dog to go through the course, it doesn't seem like the kind of behavior you see in dogs or I've seen in dogs, so we're necessarily having to start slow. I'm going to go on YouTube and see how you are supposed to teach the skill. Maybe I'll go find some bike flags to use, we'll see.

At the very least we were able to work on getting him used to "in-between"  and his foot work. Yay for exercise.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Use what youir mama gave you

I was trying to think how best to exploit Rockets desire to climb. I don't think he would be a good second story man and I'm also certain he does not want to wash windows, although his ears would be very well suited for polishing windows post wash... But, if his ears got wet they would also get cold and I don't want that! He is the most luxurious ears, think of a thicker, warmer, nicer velvet and you almost have his ears.

His ears are fabulous but they are also very fragile and in the winter they are susceptible to snapping! I haven't actually heard of this happening but I suspect it does and it gets covered up! I can't face his ears freezing! We can't have this!  I mean what would happen if an ear just shattered?He would be all uneven and its not like he has a lot of hair that could be styled to make it less noticeable.

So I started to think. What can I do to stave this off? Do they make ear muffs for dogs?

They do but would my dog wear them? Would he understand? I think he would not and that he would tear then off and eat them before they had any chance to prove their worth to him. I think he would actully rather have cold ears than wear ear muffs. Expesially in tarten, perhaps in a sedate solid, no, these are not for him.

Another problem would be his head shape. It is not friendly to head wear. Its more friendly than say, a Russian Wolfhounds Beak-like head for example but  still he is not built for head gear.  I don't know what the original German breeders thought about making their ears so brittle but there must have been some very good hunting-centric reason, perhaps they resist getting caught on brambles or they dry quickly, who knows. It was a design decision. The closest that they make is

Head-tube, which if he would agree to wear it like the weim featured in the picture, would be great and I would feel warm too, important in dog clothes which are only about half bought to as a tool to keep the animal warm but to instead  are really purchased to make the owner feel warm, its an important distinction. This gets bonus points because A) The model weim and B) it looks masculine.  A lot of dog clothing is decidedly not-masculine and then to add insult to injury, designed and built for little dogs. I think instead of investing in this dog hat you could also cut the leg of teen boy sized rack pants or the waist section of a childs sweat pants. Hmmm. Or a pair of mens briefs?

Anyway. I need to do something with Rockets skill set. So I did some research and discovered that a lot the activities that are included in  canine agility are also skills that he possesses. Score! Its also something we could get started in for not a huge amount of money, should we turn out to be agility dilettantes.

On the upside, you can buy inexpensive starter kits, on the downside, they do not include the fun stuff that I think he would love and that do not exists in the wild where I am, however they do have some of the equipment and would help us start.

I looked  at a lot of pictures of the equipment and tried to think how I could DIY some  of the parts. I remembered that I all ready have a tunnel and I decided that would try this out. Looking back, it was not the best idea. The tunnel was made for cats, not dogs, and I should have done less looking and more reading to see how large the tunnels are before I tried to put Rocket into on. The one I have is about eighteen inches wide and about seven feet long, the agility tunnels are about twenty-four inches wide and most of the "open tunnels" are about five feet long. He did go through it once but I am afraid he might not want to do it again. Sigh.

But, I have faith, he's fallen before and always gotten right back on the horse, I just have to make sure the next time we're on that horse that its the right size.

There might be issues with Canine Agility though, there are no CA groups in my area and there are also no permanent agility course around here either. Hmm, more research is needed. I do think this might be fun to pursue though, both for me and for Rocket.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two steps forwards, three, four steps back.

I wasn't going to say anything but I can now, I've declassified Operation Give That Dog  A Bed  because it was a total failure. He had a chance, he slept on a nice, soft cozy bed all weekend and it was wonderful! He was so happy! I was so happy! I thought we had turned a corner!  It turns out, we were in a cul de sac.

Its not that I am ready for him to stop being a puppy or I resent his puppy atributes, I don't! I love puppy Rocket! I want him to stay young and happy and bouncing forever! I just didn't relize he was going to be an infant for so long... I just don't remember Daisy being so young for so long.

Rocket is six months old, in Dog world, he's entering his teens.Its like having a teenager who is still in diapers. He had it all over the weekend, he could have lived in a whole new world: A world where his bed  was soft and warm, where his bed cuddled him, it was everything he didn't know he was missing. I would have been okay with risque posters on his crate walls, the lieing the sneakingthe cats kibble! all of it! I am ready!

 But maybe, maybe I am not ready for him to not come when he's called or to eat my stuff. He's always stuck to his toys but sometimes he gnaws on the table... what happens if teenage Rocket really eats my table? I almost think, if he could eat my table and be dry when I come home for lunch, it might just buy a new table because I'm a little ambivalent about the one I have now.

But... Here in the now:  he blew it. Back to bedding down up with Thursdays Metro Section and last Sundays International page. It was a dream and he woke up on the wrong side of the bed after lunch with wet feet. He could have had a real dog bed, a real, soft, squishy warm bed all the time. But no, he took the opportunity and just let it go.... So irresponsible, so just not what I had been hopeing for him, I had all these dreams for him, I was going to price out beds his size, I was going to pull out Daisy's old bedding, I was going to do a lot of things. Mostly things featuring fluff. I dreamed about a world for him that was not stained with newsprint.

Now, I'm going to put more paper in his crate and try to figure out how much paper I'm going to need for the bigger box he'll be moving to soon. A lot I think, a lot, lot. Daisy didn't have paper in her box. ever. She enjoyed soft, warm bedding from the start. Daisy was potty trained.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Dog Blogging

I need more three day weekends. I think I'll talk to my supervisor about this, I would waste much less time plotting againts my co-workers and be much more productive and efficant, if I only had to deal with them four days a week.

Pictures of my Dog. This would be a lot easier if Blogger would "break" whatever they thought they were fixing because now posting pictures is a lot harder. Thank You Blogger!!!

He will have you know, he can tell a joke.
A duck he is not...
He is not called "Rocket" for nothing!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, Friday

Today we're going to see if the puppy can actually exhaust himself by spenig hours pointlessly yapping. We are conducting this little experent because there may be something wet and solid falling from the sky, maybe, or not, depending on your mood and we are not going on any long, puppy exhausting walks.

It is also windy and cold and all together nasty. It is unsuitable for dog walking. It is unsuitable for pretty much any activity that does not  involve wrapping yourself in an electric blanket and a puppy, and camping out in front of the TV.

It is so wet and nasty that I have been seduced by Project Runway All Stars - a show I do not watch, for many reasons but most notable because its  on Lifetime and to add insult to injury seems to be staffed by such Lifetime luminary's as "Random Ragged Blond" and " Off Brand British Blond Lady who is not That Guy". I would do something else but it would just be too much work. It feels very rainy Saturday afternoon instead of rainy Thursday evening but tomorrow is not Sunday, I have to go to work.

The puppy has yapped himself into exhaustion. We shall see if this is just a nap or if he can manage to go the distance.  Maybe I should wake him up so he doesn't  use all his available fatigue up prematurely. I gave him his bone and now he is using it as a pillow. Sigh.
No matter how serially uncooperative I am or how difficult I make it to photograph me, I will never make you go outside in the cold and the rain and the wet so I can relive myself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Before and After

I know you have been following the saga of the torn-down building downtown as closely as I have, because I have forced you to come with me. There have been some changes.

That was then This is now
All gone...
I remembered that one fo the storefronts along there was false but I had forgotten which one. They didn't take it down when they took the other one and I can't figure out why.

I'm impressed that they took all he mess away and didn't just dump it into the basement. I hope this means they are going to build something new here.
Speaking of before and after

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hitchcock was here

This is what I found when I came home today.

my new recycle bin! It was on the front stairs, ruined!

My first question was: "what the hell happened here?" And then  I said "Birds. Birds happened here".

 front steps


The real question is, where did they find berries in January!?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dog Video

Okay, I'm experimenting.

He could just keep walking until the end but but he was not thrilled with the camera or not having me next to him while he did this and there was a squirrel. This is the first video I've taken with the phone and then I had to edit it in the computer and I've never done that before either. Learning is good.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golden Globe Results 2013

Best Motion Picture — Drama
  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
  • Jessica Chastain — Zero Dark Thirty
  • Marion Cotillard — Rust and Bone
  • Helen Mirren — Hitchcock
  • Naomi Watts — The Impossible
  • Rachel Weisz — The Deep Blue Sea

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
  • Daniel Day-Lewis — Lincoln
  • Richard Gere — Arbitrage
  • John Hawkes — The Sessions
  • Joaquin Phoenix — The Master
  • Denzel Washington — Flight

Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Les Misérables
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Silver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical
  • Emily Blunt — Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Judi Dench — The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Jennifer Lawrence — Silver Linings Playbook
  • Maggie Smith — Quartet
  • Meryl Streep — Hope Springs
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical
  • Jack Black — Bernie
  • Bradley Cooper — Silver Linings Playbook
  • Hugh Jackman — Les Misérables
  • Ewan McGregor — Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Bill Murray — Hyde Park on Hudson

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
  • Amy Adams — The Master
  • Sally Field — Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway — Les Misérables
  • Helen Hunt — The Sessions
  • Nicole Kidman — The Paperboy
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
  • Alan Arkin — Argo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio — Django Unchained
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman — The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones — Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz — Django Unchained
Best Director — Motion Picture
  • Ben Affleck — Argo
  • Kathryn Bigelow — Zero Dark Thirty
  • Ang Lee — Life of Pi
  • Steven Spielberg — Lincoln
  • Quentin Tarantino — Django Unchained
Best Television Series — Drama
  • Breaking Bad
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Downton Abbey
  • Homeland
  • The Newsroom
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama
  • Connie Britton — Nashville
  • Glenn Close — Damages
  • Claire Danes — Homeland
  • Michelle Dockery — Downton Abbey
  • Julianna Margulies — The Good Wife
Best Performance by and Actor in a Television Series — Drama
  • Steve Buscemi — Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston — Breaking Bad
  • Jeff Daniels — The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm — Mad Men
  • Damian Lewis — Homeland
  • Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical
    • The Big Bang Theory
    • Episodes
    • Girls
    • Modern Family
    • Smash
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical
    • Zooey Deschanel — The New Girl
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus — Veep
    • Lena Dunham — Girls
    • Tina Fey — 30 Rock
    • Amy Poehler — Parks and Recreation
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical
    • Alec Baldwin — 30 Rock
    • Don Cheadle — House of Lies
    • Louis C.K. — Louie
    • Matt LeBlanc — Episodes
    • Jim Parsons — The Big Bang Theory

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging

How you doin'?

2013 Oscar (tm) Noms.

For Those of you living under a rock.

Best Motion Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Django Unchained

I haven't actually seen any of these but I do want to see SLPB and Argo, I do know I do not to see Les Miz because it sounds likes its been Tweened and I don't aprove. I know Lincoln is a really, really good movie and ZDT is supposed to be outstanding, Amour, from what I've heard, is outstanding.] BoTSW I don't know anything about. but the little girl is very noteworthy also nominated. I don't wanna see DU.

Achievement in Directing
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Okay, good choices.  The internet is outraged that  the directors of ZDT and Argo got left off the list. Too many films nominated for best picture, limited number of directors nominated for best director. Do the math whiners.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

I think these are good, from what I've heard.  Daniel Day Lewis is going to win though.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

This catagory features the oldest and the youngest nominees. I think I favor Riva for this.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Tough crowd. Man. Not fun, all really, really fine actors. This is probably a better field of stronger actors than the Best Actor.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master

I don't like Helen Hunt, and I don't want Anne Hathaway to win for some reason. I vote for Jacki Weaver.

Original Screenplay
Flight, John Gatins
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Amour, Michael Haneke
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

I wanted to see  MK but didn't. I want it to win.

Adapted Screenplay
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Argo, Chris Terrio
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Life of Pi, David Magee

Best Foreign-Language Film
Amour (Austria)
No (Chile)
War Witch (Canada)
A Royal Affair (Den)
Kontiki (Norway)

Original Score
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman

Original Song
"Before My Time," J. Ralph; Chasing Ice
"Pi's Lullaby," Mychael Danna & Bombay Jayashri; Life of Pi
"Suddenly," Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; Les Misérables
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Walter Murphy & Seth McFarlane; Ted
"Skyfall," Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; Skyfall

I want Adele to win.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Rocket and I were walking through the historic district.Lovely, always lovely. If my house was in Oakwood it would be worth about 300K more and I could still have my Christmas decorations up. Lights, air-blown, tree - the whole thing. I had to have my stuff down last weekend.

We're walking along and I notice that there were new flyer's on the light poles. I investigate because there are a lot of flyer's up my way too, lost kitties. Our notices are all about missing marmie kitties - three that I know about, I don't think its a coincidence: Someone is snatching yellow kitties.

ANYWAY. This is not my neighborhood  and these flyer are not about missing kitties.The flyer's were about a prayer service being held tonight at one of the half dozen little churches scattered on the edges of the historic district. "Oh" I said, the historic district found a religion apart from home restoration. We continue walking and we run across the church in question and two TV trucks. One of the trucks has a guy with it and I say "Newsworthy prayer meeting?, are they praying against something interesting? and the guy says "Its about the shooting" and I said What shooting? and he said "The one down the street, two guys with shot guns......"

The two gun welding scum bags broke into the house and shot the guy and tried to rape the woman. It does not help that the news story has a picture of one of them looking like every scary black man ever with the headline: "Second brother arrested in Home Invasion". I was like please Gawd let them be siblings. I know the headline writer had been praying for the opportunity to use it somehow some day. Tacky as hell though, I don't care how correct it was, they were actually brothers, but still, tacky as hell.

I noticed there was no crime tape, you would never know something horrible happened, down my way, I've noticed that crime tape stays up longer than Christmas decorations and its harder to get rid of than tinsel in the carpet.

We continued our walk and overheard two neighbors several blocks up discussing the prayer meeting and whether they were attending, the young mother was not, her kids bedtime was scheduled for the same time but the older woman was going. The worst thing that is supposed to happen to you in Oakwood is your neighbor stealing your contractor. This is not like that. Enter prayer service.

However, a couple of blocks to the south (really,  just a couple of blocks down) there have been hooker sweeps  and a couple of years ago a little further up a guy was shot dead in the street and drive-bys happen and everyone knows what a gun shot sounds like and the sirens wail almost non-stop and the houses are less old and in worse shape and I have never walked a dog there.

 Further down you hit my neighborhood, nice but not as nice. Not as nice but no home invasions or dead men in the street, unless they got hit by a bus - and if you do get broken into, chances are someone on the street knows who did it. I do have to wonder if this did happen (God Forbid) in my neighborhood how many news trucks to would show up for the prayer meeting or how shocked any of us would really be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter Wonderingland

Two mornings in a row they neighbor girl has startled me  as I walk past with Rocket. I am supposed to be out and about at 5:30am, I am dressed for it and prepared for dark. She is wrapped in a blanket outside the front door playing with her phone! At 5:30am, in the dark and the cold, the real pre-dawn cold, in a blanket!. I have a coat and shoes and ear muffs and I'm fully awake and dressed. I am still cold.

I wonder what she's doing there, and why all of a sudden?  I have noticed her car isn't there as often  and she arrives home very late and she parks in the street instead of in the driveway, but she does travel for her job and maybe her hours have changed. Its just odd though. Who sits on their front porch in a blanket in the pre-dawn hours? Odd.

Well, speaking of odd, Rocket played in the snow today!

It didn't snow here! I don't even know where the snow came from! It was just there, I had Rocket play in the mysetery snow because someday he might see real snow and I want him to have some memory of feeling it before. New experiences are key for puppies.
Speaking of new
I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to call the city to see what the hold up was, it had been weeks and it wasn't becoming less of an attractive hazard.
From the back

It was a much larger building than I had thought, the next time I'm downtown I'm going to check out the backside better, it was too hard to get close enough to see anything and I want to see better what is left and how large the space is. Its still an attractive hazard!
It sounds like someone is outside using a chainsaw... Not a chain saw, a mini-bike. Almost as dangerous and more mobile with the same engine. I hope they get to where they are chopping soon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Over the weekend when I wasn't letting myself down with my Christmas clean up, I was cooking. I took a tour of my freezer and did not find any meatloaf! I didn't have to look real hard because I knew there weren't any in there. I ate it all, still I was hopeing for an orphan. The family that was baked together, was all gone together.

I also had room for more loaf so more loaf I was going to make. I was getting a little tired of what I had been doing so I went looking for new recipes. I looked a lot of them, some were too much like what I was doing others used too many ingredients and others that were Hipster Food truck versions of it and those make me tired. I don't want to use have to use ground sirloin and artisanal breed crumbs and organic, locally sourced heirloom  tomato paste. That is the secret of the Hipster Food truck is that  not that they make outstanding new versions of the old favorites, but that they make idealized, perfect world versions of "comfort food".

It makes me uncomfortable.

Of course its better! Ground sirloin is better than ground round! Duh.  But why not just have the sirloin? Why waste it in a lowly meatloaf? Suck it hipster irony, I see you. I'm going to eat grocery store bologna on a hamburger role and non-ironically eat some Cheetos. Make something taste good without using the born on third base platinum versions of the ingredients and then tell me how good your fancy hipster food truck food "comfort food" is.

Speaking of the pressed aluminum versions of the classics. I made mine with ground beef, pork and turkey and then I dumped in some leftover bacon bits. I added a package of plain Jane button mushrooms,  a couple of frozen green bells and tomatoes from last years garden, a can of tomato paste and then I dumped in some oatmeal for filler, a couple of eggs to bind and a splash of my chicken broth for fluid. Because the hipster bacon mania has seeped even into my kind of hermetically sealed non-hipster environment, I sprinkled the rest of my bacon bits on the the tops of the loafs.

Note the grease drops. That was about all the grease I harvested from the loafs. I had hoped for more because I found a recipe for pasties and it called for suet  to be added on top of the mixture prior to baking. I was sure that a bunch of loafs would net me  all the suet I would need. Foiled.

Damn good meat loaf though.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back to the grindstone

The tree is in its bag and the lights are boxed up and Santa has been shipped back to the pole. I made trip after trip upstairs and I was comfortable that I was done for another year....And then I went to do laundry and got mugged by a gang of Christmas turtlenecks. I picked myself up and did my laundry and turned my back on them, I had shut the door on all that, literally and the thought of having to go back and do any of it again was just really depressing.

But on the surface, it looks like its all done, I haven't found any run away ornaments or stray Santa's hiding behind the curtains and I spent Saturday wrestling with the outdoor stuff and getting it put away so I can feel some sense of accomplishment. The outside looks as it should and the living and dining-rooms are bare and back to their pre-Christmas state., I am as in years past unsatisfied with my "winter" table cloth The rooms look smaller now and everything is darker. I miss the twinkle.

But there are things to look forward to! The time change is sooner rather than later, the days are marginally longer now so dog walking doesn't have to be done by candle light or require an armed escort - there is a reason I haven't cut his claws yet. No one wants to be on the wrong end of his talons, I mean, really he's like a furry bird of prey,I've sen him go airborne and I really think he has some raptor in him he will cut you and then carry you back to his nest/crate. For reals. The dog will play with you like a chew toy. Its too much trouble to rattle that off to everyone we run into walking back home after dark but I make sure I keep him on a short leash and act like he's vicious.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My new favorite site

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging

Happiness is a warm puppy

I was going t say how cool the lap top is because I can sit on my chair wrapped in my awesome electric blanket and do my thing and be warm  at the same time being all cool and watching the good TV and gazing at the tree, I also thought how awesome it would be to do all these things while the puppy sleeps on the chair with me. Like we do almost every evening.

This evening the puppy wasn't sleepy. I had to rewrite my evening.

So. Now I'm going to say how awesome the lap top is and how I can sit on the futon with my awesome electric blanket - totally portable by the way, I was sad I had to leave it in the living room but then I smacked myself in the head and said Hey, just unplug it ya dummy! Take it with you! while the dog sits behind me and chews his bone. Must remember to make sure he is not also chewing the blanket. So far so good. The puppy is all about lumbar support, who knew? Heated lumbar support at that! He has exactly the right size and shape and body temperature to offer lower back support.

This isn't quite as charming as sitting in front of the pretty tree and the comfy chair and the big TV and the sleeping puppy but the puppy wasn't sleepy then, now he's happy gnawing his bone and being all calm and lovely and sweet. For this second right now, puppies are like the weather in spring, wait five minutes and its going to change - but for these minutes right now, he's being still and calm and helpful.

My next project with him is going to be learning to be in the office out of this crate by himself without freaking out, which is what he does now. I really want him to be okay with being in this room unsupervised because this is going to be his home base and I want him to be good with it. I don't remember having to work with Daisy about being in the room by herself. She also was in the room in her crate for a very long time, so she was acclimatized to the space all ready and was able to make the transition quickly.

I don't want Puppy to be his crate for a "very long time" so I need him to get acclimated sooner. Now the puppy is sleeping.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dogs and Cats

The little cat is feeling lonely and unloved. To compensate he is busy growing a marvelously fluffy coat, softer and fuller than before and he is also nurturing the most luscious whiskers. He has never been more beautiful.  Soft and fluffy and gorgeous and round, small cat is getting perilously close to buying his collars in the "stocky" department. I have driven my cat to emotional eating!

The bigger he gets, the braver he gets. He is also getting good a teasing the dog. In the mornings while I'm reading the paper he hops onto the table and looks at the dog and says Oh, look, I am being rewarded for being up here! Just think about what happens when you even think about  putting your nose up here like me! She just nuzzled my ears! Oh! Oh! She picked me up to cuddle! Look at me and Mama being all lovey! Have fun over there on you bed in the corner!

And then he goes to delicately sip the dogs water.

Both of them have noticed that there are places that Small cat can go that Puppy can not. The cat spends a lot of time on the couch just because he can - he never was a big couch sitter before but all of a sudden its his favorite place. I think this is because its right in the path the dogs takes from his crate to the kitchen and the kitty is all Oh, are you on a leash? Oh that must suck for you. Does she not trust you enough to let you run free all the time? Do you require constant supervision? That is so sad. Even when you are off the leash are you really ever "off the leash"? I don't have a leash, I don't require supervision, I never needed to be followed around. Just more mature I guess. I'm going to go doze on the dining room table. Why don't you see what happens when you do it!

Small cat has also upped the anti by starting to play with his cat toys again. He hasn't had much interest in them since he grew out of kitten hood. Suddenly, he has seen the wisdom of play and its high cuteness quotient and suddenly he's baby kitty again. I think he has also watched Puppy playing with his toys and seen the reaction and support "happy young animal playing with toys" gets and is trying to get in on the action. Puppy doesn't like sharing the cute stage and gets even by stealing Small cats toys and carrying them around in his mouth until they are wet and saturated with dog smell. I don't think I've seen Small cat play with the toys after the Puppy has hijacked. Point to puppy.

Thus far the dog toys are safe but I have noticed that some of them disappear from time to time only to turn up in places I'm pretty sure the puppy doesn't have access to. I swear though, the first time I find a chicken under my pillow I'm going to see if Cesar Milan works with cats.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Well, hello!

Its been a while, you had things to do, I had things to do, but now we're both back. Yay!

I hope you had a merry Christmas and made it through New Years eve safely and had fun while you were safety doing it. I went to downtown Raleigh and watched the acorn drop at midnight

I do like ringing in the new year at actual midnight and I haven't done it in a while and it was a fun as I remembered it. I bought a horn for a dollar, and noise was made.

They had more than horns for sale

And there were rides,

I did more with my time off than enjoy myself downtown. I also did some garden prep

One day last week there was a story in the paper about the wonders of alfalfa pellets as an easy way to add nitrogen to the soil without having to plant alfalfa and tend them over the winter . I and I learned, half of Raleigh, went to the Tractor Supply in Knightdale and a good old buy carried a fifty pound bag of  alfalfa pellets out to the car for us. I scattered the pellets and I had planned on tilling the garden but  they skies opened up and helpfully rained the pellets and their nitrogen into the soil for me. The pellets swell up and disintegrate and the nitrogen is released into the soil.

Before I looked to nourishing my soil, I saw to nourishing myself.

Home made chicken soup featuring green beans, peppers and tomatoes from the garden I froze and put up in the fall. I then froze and put up the soup. The circle of life!