Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
You know how hard I've been working to train Eddie to be a productive member of the community. You also know that people can be assholes. The number of times that the training has been undermined or downright sabotaged, and sometimes in the most hurtful ways, this week is unquantifiable. Mostly he's been pretty good but walking him past other dogs without barking and acting like an ass is a huge challenge not to mention a big pet peeve of mine.
Last night he'd done pretty well but it was mostly coincidence. He passed three dogs without incident because he didn't see them. Then there was a white puffball of a dog who ambushed us from around a corner and beneath a short tree and his brain went all scrambly. A very short half block later I noticed that up ahead a guy was walking a bicycle and a larger, brindled dog. My weak ass heart just wanted to cross the street and run away. The part of me that wants this whole lesson learned sooner rather than later sacked up.
I brought Eddie to the street just off the curb while the dog approached. I waited until he saw the dog. When he looked at the dog calmly I told him YES and gave him a treat. I got about four or five looks/treats in and the dog had nearly passed and Ed couldn't hold it together any longer. I sighed and muttered, "So close!" and started to wrangle him away.
After a beat the guy said, "Do you want to try that again?"
YES! Yes please! Yes I do dammit!
So we did. And it was OK, not perfect but I thanked him and told him what we were working on and he recommended a trainer and I thanked him again and we walked on. That's going to stay with me, though. Such a nice thing to do.
Anything nice happen to you recently?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Part the First is The Cathedral
Part the Second, The Great Pupkin
The Women's Colony last year but I've filed it somewhere now and it's no longer online so you're getting this paragraph instead. Twelve years ago Kath had a funny idea about giving people prizes for dressing their dogs up in costumes. This year she's making a meat dress and being interviewed by Gothamist and generally presiding over Brooklyn's premiere Canine Costume Competition (it's more of a heated race than you might think). I've been working on Eddie's costume all week and I think it's going to come together nicely. In trying on his "safety vest" last night I discovered that, like the dog pictured above, he goes pretty immobile when draped in something foreign to him. I think this is going to work to my advantage. I'll be meeting up with NDP at 10am to help with the set up but registration starts at 11am and judging begins at noon if you're coming. (You'll love it.) About the time it's all disassembled for another year Mama Kizz should be arriving (just couldn't work out the timing so she'd see the contest) for...
Part the Third, (not my) wedding
this much-maligned couple) on Sunday in a day time ceremony followed by brunch in the fantastical borough of Queens. If you've ever tried to navigate public transportation between Brooklyn and Queens on a Sunday you'll know why my mother and I will be leaving my house at approximately 5am and that, even if there's another guest who has traveled from Timbuktu, we will still have had a more arduous trip to the event. I'm very excited to see the family and wish we all had more time here in the city to hang out. Much of the group will be bowling on Saturday but their lane reservation at a bowling alley I've been hankering to sample is exactly during the Pupkin so, alas, I shall miss it. There are still three of us left single and a whole other generation yet to come so next time perhaps bowling will be in the cards. This time it will be enough (it's always more than enough) to see the happy couple shouting their promises from the rooftops (not literally...I don't think).
And on Monday? I sleep.
*Which I keep typing as my WEDDING in Three Parts which...just...no.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Just in time for All Hallow's Eve we've got the results of the BOO photo challenge. Most photogs took this in a Halloweeny direction. As always I urge you to click through to see the rest of their story and the entries that weren't included in this challenge. Lots of good stuff.
I'm going use the next challenge to honor a frequent contributor who isn't featured above. I don't know for sure why she didn't enter this one but I'm betting it's because she was running. Bethany will be participating in the New York City Marathon on November 7 and she's starting to get pre-marathon jitters. A couple of years ago I saw a spectator flashing a sign that said, "Run Your Own Race." So this next challenge is going to be OWN.
Interpret as you will. Enter as often as you like. Post entries to our Flickr Group. Tag them with "photo challenge" and "OWN." Please have all that done by Tuesday November 9 for posting on Wednesday November 10. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
1. Lament lack of proper dog costuming over brunch.
2. Feel spark of intrigue at friend's suggestion.
3. Read up on papier mache technique at work (1st google result only).
4. Read up on papier mache technique at home (2nd google result only because...I don't know).
5. Gather ingredients according to 2nd google result.
6. Discover dead weevils in the flour, even though it was an unopened bag sealed in a plastic bag.
7. Have a moment of gratitude since you might have opened that flour for the first time on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when you actually need to cook.
8. Put 2 cups of water on to boil.
9. Mix 1 cup of flour to 1 cup of cold water whisking until smooth.
10. Check instructions and realize that you just fucked up the only clear measurement instructions by adding 3/4 of a cup more flour than required.
11. Make an executive decision to just work with what you've done instead of starting over even though you're only going to throw the buggy flour away anyway.
12. Cook lumpy hot glue.
13. Leave it to cool.
14. Blow up a balloon for the first time in probably a decade.
16. Compare size of balloon to size of dog's head.
17. Watch dog run away.
19. Watch dog cower with pleading eyes.
20. Estimate from afar and tie balloon off.
21. Massage blood back into finger tip.
22. Check to see if glue is cool.
23. Notice cat at the window.
24. Notice he is on the wrong side of the window, the outside.
25. Wonder vaguely about heart attack symptoms in middle-aged women.
26. Sit in window begging cat to come in.
27. Watch cat shy away at the jingling of dog tags.
28. Sequester dog in bedroom.
29. Return to see cat sauntering into living room looking peeved.
30. Close and seal every window in the joint.
31. Check to see if glue is cool.
32. Tear newspaper into strips.
33. Feel a little glee at tearing Brett Favre and his cell phone in half.
34. Check to see if glue is cool.
35. Find something on which to precariously balance the balloon for application of gluey paper.
36. Check to see if glue is cool.
37. Check email.
38. Check to see if glue is cool.
40. Dip paper in glue.
41. Squeegee excess glue off paper with fingers.
42. Have extraordinarily vivid flashback to grade school.
43. Lay glued strip of paper on balloon.
44. Pick balloon up off crafting surface.
45 - 55. Repeat #39 - 44
46. Observe beginnings of inter-species sparring session.
47. Lay glued paper on balloon.
48. Contemplate how one might break up a fight without accidentally gluing animals together.
49. Come up with nothing.
50. More glued paper.
51. Smooth everything over.
52. Call it good.
53. Save extra glue for next round of gluing the following evening.
55. Stick self to towel by accident anyway.
Monday, October 25, 2010
A week from tomorrow is election day. You may not believe me but for a little bit there I thought about encouraging you not to vote. You see in the primaries in my city just around 10% of voters turned out. Some of that had to do with traditionally low turn out for primaries and some of it was that a lot of polling places were so royally fucked that the people who tried to vote could not. (Let us not even dance around whether or how the votes were counted.) The thing is, I vote all the time. Every time they let me. Even with the hated computer system. And by the tattered corners of my cardstock voter registration card my vote counted way more in September since hardly anyone else bothered. So, you know, if you want to give your neighbor the gift of a much more powerful vote then, sure, you stay home. That's really nice of you. Also trusting. I don't trust my neighbors that much, even though they seem like delightful people.
In case you're waffling on the voting thing because you're angry at the system let me address two topics; one each, it seems to me at least, from either side of the aisle.
There are a lot of people who voted for the first time, or the first time in a very long while, in order to elect our current President. I waited for over an hour to cast my vote that November day. In marked contrast to the recent primaries where all I waited for was the damn instructions on the evil computer vote counter to make sense to me. Now, I'm going to extrapolate a little here but it seems as though a lot of people thought they could cast that one vote for one guy and then throw huge parties (which were fun, I don't deny it) and then the guy they voted for would fix everything and they'd never have to do anything again.
You voted for the guy and he's working his tail off (also his wife, his staff and a certain number of his colleagues) and he can't do it alone. No one could. There's a decent chance we can't all do it together. But together has way better odds than alone. If you're disappointed in the guy you voted for and you're not voting? I can't agree with that either. A great way to tell him what you expect him to keep working on is by voting. Our founding fathers might even call it...wait for it...revolutionary.
And now let's speak of accomplishing things. Pardon me while I use a sporting analogy. You know how in recent years we've seen changes in basketball and hockey? Keys have diminished and shot clocks installed among other things. These measures were taken because play was being slowed. A team unconcerned with offense could simply defend and block and slow down the game and keep scoring for either side quite low. There are a lot of reasons this is both good and bad. The main reason that, I think, the changes were implemented was because Americans want to see motion, action, progress, if you will.
So, when you head to the voting booth next Tuesday* (because I know that the strength of my blog post will send you there with bells on your toes and a political action song in your heart) please vote for motion, for action, for progress instead of someone who wants to block all play until someone gives them the ball so they can take it home. Or at least don't vote for someone who is all about the blocking.
*Someone commented on a previous voting post that the only way to vote in her district is to mail in one's ballot and the voter has to pay for the stamp. That can't be within the proper voting rules, can it? Or maybe there's a place downtown where one can drop off one's ballot without the stamp so it gets by on a technicality?
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
It's been a hard week to be a little dog.
After the near-snatching of the other night we were looking for a pretty plain Jane kind of a day. No park this morning, quick walk in the afternoon, long training walk through the park in the evening. We came home and I started to feed the beasts and plan for a quiet night, maybe some more indoor training. We got a call, though, a friend was headed to the park and it seemed like a good idea. (It was a good idea.) There was a chance for illegal off leash time, who passes that up?
We did get that and Eddie was having a super fun time with our friend the big, tall, ball-obsessed German Shepherd, Tim. Well, eventually the fun had to come to an end, right? Eddie got too close to the ball while Tim was worried that no one would ever throw the ball for him again and brouhaha ensued.
There was crying. Screaming, even. By Eddie, not by me or NDP. And certainly not by Tim. As soon as I got Eddie out of the way Tim couldn't have cared less about any of it. It wasn't his fault, he just wanted someone to throw the ball and not to be endlessly barked at and harassed by a young whippersnapper the length of his tail. We tried to have Eddie walk it off, we tried soothing and petting but the crying was sustained. He had some tenderness and maybe some blood on one haunch. Under a streetlamp, even one of those crappy yellow sodium vapor ones, we determined it was spit and dirt, not blood. The crying tapered and eventually ceased.
He's OK. As a matter of fact right now he's draped over one of my thighs with one of his squeaky squirrels clasped between his front paws and he's nearly asleep. Since the incident he has walked, run, jumped, turned, wheeled, walked on his hind legs, leapt onto the couch, chased a couple of cats, climbed stairs and skidded into a door. There is no permanent damage. He may have a bruise or some continued tenderness for a couple of days. I've given him some puppy massage and some love and way too many treats. By the time we parted company Ed had deigned to stand one human's breadth from Tim while both of them were given treats. He'd taken treats from NDP. He had entirely quit being nudgy to Tim which was, I have to be honest, pretty nice. He's probably not over it quite yet but he's not permanently damaged.
It's been kind of a hard week to be a small dog's person, too. I'm tired y'all. Every day brings something new. There's a lot of good and a lot of bad and way too much mediocre. I keep thinking of this story I heard recently about Dolly Parton. She was on a plane that was stuck on the tarmac. After a couple of hours the natives were restless (Have I told you this story already? I feel like I have.) so she stood up and started entertaining them. Later someone asked her if she ever got annoyed by the need to be "on" all the time. She replied that she'd wished all her life to be a star and she'd be a fool to complain about it when it happened.
I know I wished for this but, let's face it, I'm no Dolly Parton.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
There are things, though, that I am holding fast to in regard to my small dog. He has to walk on his own. He has to walk for long stretches. He doesn't have to walk so god damned fast, but I'm OK with that. Anything to get him tired. Sometimes, when he's being a pill, it's hard to resist just picking him up to remove him from a situation but if I wouldn't pick up a rottie I shouldn't pick up a....whatever he is. So I try hard not to. The barking is uncool. Any barking from any size dog is really not my favorite but especially that piercing high pitched craziness that comes from a dog his size makes me want to club baby seals just to make it stop. We work a lot on not barking. This week we are failing. I walk a fine line with dressing him up just because they make clothes for him. On the one hand I wouldn't dress a Newf when it rained. On the other hand Eddie gets cold. He's got one coat now and I can't decide whether I regret not buying him the $45 custom fit perfect coat from Rut Ro last week. I won't let him freeze but I'm working to make his clothing of necessity rather than whim. Also, that shit is fucking expensive and I'd rather spend the money on toys than clothes. He shouldn't jump on people to greet them. He's actually pretty good at that. He needs to be able to play with all sizes of dogs and not get wigged out. He's also relatively good at that. Just wait until you see the photos of him playing tug of war with Bobby.
Between last night and this morning, though, I'm in the small dog person camp. At least I've got a foot inside the tent flap. I think a lot of the things that I object to people doing with or for their small dogs has to do with being protective. As dog people (size undifferentiated) we are advocates for our dogs. We are supposed to be protective to some extent. The first couple of times I took Ed to the green market I carried him because I just couldn't imagine how he wouldn't get stepped on but I've worked it out. Now I'm figuring out how to keep him from sneaking up and barking at people while I try to buy carrots.
German Shepherd? I don't.
Last night was the real eye opener. We were taking one last turn around the block so Eddie was thoroughly empty before bed. As we passed the bank on the corner I noticed movement in my peripheral vision. There's a bus stop right there so often cars park in the bus stop and people pop out to use the ATM. Since they don't want to get ticketed they tend to move pretty quickly. I turned enough to see someone getting out of a car so I adjusted us out of the trajectory between car and bank and let Eddie keep sniffing. The girl, I could see now it was a girl wearing a red and white striped shirt, changed her flight plan and headed straight for us. I sort of pulled back but was trying to work out where she was going so I could get out of her way. She was moving pretty quick and she thrust her arms out in front of her and then she was leaning down. Eddie got it before I did. He whipped around to face her and backed up so he was close against me and then he barked loud and clear. That crazy chick was going to....what? Pick him up? Snatch him from me? Pet him? What the fuckity fucking fuck? It wasn't going to be a good choice, whatever it was. When he barked she straightened up and went back to the car. Frankly she was kind of indignant. As I gaped, astonished, after her I heard her say something to her companions about "she" and "scared." I don't know if she thought Eddie was a she and he got scared or if she was talking about me. She seemed to think scared was funny. Maybe she'd been purposely trying to scare me. I can't begin to understand. I know she doesn't understand either. She hasn't a blessed clue how hard I want to punch her in ignorant laugh-hole even 12 hours later.
So I get it now. I get why people pick up their dogs, keep them close, let them act out. It's protection they need. I've always said that dogs are just fine.
It's the people who have their heads up their asses.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Heather Champ, a blogger and photographer I admire, launched a little project around 10/10/10. You signed up to be part of it. You took a picture on 10/10/10. You submitted it to the Flickr pool by noon PDT on 10/20/10. I submitted the following shot last night and will make a set of the others I took that day. I decided to shoot with the manual lens from my old film camera because I've never really done that before. The results weren't perfect (hint: auto focus lenses are for people with old eyes and I am a person with old eyes) but I learned a lot and had fun.
Speaking of fun, we're halfway between photo challenges. Have you entered the BOO photo challenge yet?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
1. MAB wrote a really lovely tribute to Leave It To Beaver in the wake of Barbara Billingsley's death. I hadn't thought about the show in any substantial way in years. He makes a wonderful case for real family values.
2. Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks (whose book, The Beauty of Different, is coming out right now) talks about bullying and how we adults need to react with increased awareness of our own behavior. She is wise.
3. Dude, someone is making AMNH dinosaur skeletons out of pancakes. Delicious, delicious pancakes!
4. This weekend I did a photo shoot with Audio Girl for the PR for a benefit concert she's doing on December 13th to help pay the bills that resulted (and keep resulting) from her having breast cancer. I told someone this and the immediate reaction was, "Didn't she have insurance?!" Yes she did and still the bills are so much that one person cannot possibly pay them. Here's a little article about how health insurance companies gouge people who are fighting disease.
5. The voting hoopla continues. If you still stand staunch with the owners of the electronic voting machines I just want to direct your attention to what's behind door #3. Several counties in New York State, after asking for and requesting an extension, still did not manage to get their absentee ballots mailed out to voters on time. Do you know who that's going to effect (read: prevent from voting)? Active duty military. Yeah. Fight. Bleed. Break. No vote for you.
6. Oh hey, here's MAB again! I forgot about this and it's so important. Really, if you want a proper, well thought out political discussion you are depriving yourself if you're not reading his blog. Anyway, there's a notion being bandied about in some circles that higher taxes discourage people from working. It's...oh really, don't listen to me, go see what MAB says. It's a math lesson even I can love.
7. One night last week or the week before Pony Express was over and we were watching TV. It began to rain around the time she thought she should go home. As we peered out the window deciding if it looked like a rain that might stop soon I heard another noise. "It's hailing!" I cried noticing little white nuggets hopping around on my air conditioner. "No it's not." she insisted, "It doesn't hail here." Oh yes it does. Inside and out.
8. Here's my other favorite health insurance article. Lady gets denied insurance because of a (healed) ankle sprain. There's a lot more to it but that's the most fun part. (My teeth are grinding even with heavy use of palliative sarcasm.)
9. As we head toward the voting booth again (you better believe there's a big pro-voting post coming up soon) I really wish that I had been as eloquent as Suzanne Reisman in this article about why legal abortion is not a fringe political issue. I know some of you don't click through so let me quote just the kick start, "An article in the New York Times reports that Democrats are making legal abortion a big issue this year. Their opponents claim that attention to their anti-choice platforms (abortion should not even be available in the case of rape or incest) is a distraction from “real issues” (my quote marks, since I think self-autonomy is a real issue)..." Please, though, click through to watch her clarify the fact that legal abortion is not only a core issue it's about jobs, economics and the economy, too.
10. Just to round the list out I want to remind you that Kizz & Tell exists. Also that I totally understand if it weirds you out to read my sex-talk. Sometimes it makes me a little uncomfortable, too. But, it's there, in case you aren't weirded out.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Now, I tend not to do anything always but, by and large, for the most part, if I can possibly help it I do not get up before 6:00am. Travel, illness, emergency, a friend in need, a special crazy opportunity, these are all reasons that I might peel myself out from between the covers before 6 but I try to keep them to a minimum. If I get up before 6 as many as 10 times in a year that can't be classified as good.
After Emily died I was getting up as late as 7:20 to leave the house by 8. As soon as Eddie arrived I moved the alarm back as far as it would go, right to 6:00am and no farther. I shower, I dress, dry my hair and try to be headed out the door with him between 7:30 and 7:40. We stay out between 45 minutes and an hour then go back so I can feed the beast, pack my lunch, brush my teeth and batten down the hatches before leaving for the day. I could get up earlier and we could go out longer. There might be advantages to that but I won't do it. Not if I can bloody well help it.
This morning when we left the house it was still dark. I noticed all the people dressed, with travel mugs in hand heading out for their day. I saw the grocery delivery men unloading orders for the 6:30 - 8 time slot and marveled that they've probably been at work a couple of hours by now. Most baristas in my neighborhood don't have to roll in to work until 7 or so but at least 2 were already brewing by the time I got out in the world.
For me, ideally, I would go to sleep around midnight and get up around 8. Pre-dog, in a Manhattan apartment, working for a non-profit I blissfully lived that rhythm for about 8 months before I turned my life upside down and departed the country like my ass was on fire. I have friends who, if given as little as 3 days of freedom, will revert to their internal rhythms and live all night, sleeping all day. Of course there are plenty of others who consider 5:30am (on a weekend!) a late start and 10am time for lunch.
What about you? What's your ideal schedule? Do you get to live by it?