Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 Light Things

1. I was talking to NDP this morning and we were speculating that rabbits are stupid. Later what do I find in my inbox? Proof that rabbits might simply be planning for world domination. Sheep, though? Complete dumbasses.

2. Antonia's daughter made a pirate hat and she decorated it for extra piratey power. I think you will enjoy her explanation.

3. This year an African American woman is Best Director at Sundance. This is a first. We love progress!

4. Schmutzie did a pretty hilarious round up of animated GIFs for Aiming Low. Can't decide if the panda with attitude or penguin falling over is my favorite.

5. Here is my favorite joke from my younger years (yeah, right, still pretty much my favorite):
How do you catch a unique rabbit?
You 'neak up on it!

6. And in second place:
How do you hide an elephant in a cherry tree?
You paint its toenails red. Have you ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree?
See? It works!

7. This particular light thing may not work for everyone...but it's sure workin' for me!

8. Awesome Joolie hangs out with parents who let their kid fingerpaint with his whole body. They should be in the parenting hall of fame!

9. This video of the boxer puppy being greeted by a herd of cows has been all over the internet but I can only locate it within a post of mimi smartypants' so enjoy them both!

10. On her birthday earlier this month Eden Kennedy posted a link to this great timeline of 101 white women from birth to 100. It's pretty fabulous. There's one for white men, too. (Fingers crossed for other skin color sets to appear.)

Now, if you've been inspired by all this lightness and brightness you may be ready to spread the sunshine. With one small gesture you can perk up three close friends of 117 Hudson. You may know that Cindy's husband, Chris, has been diagnosed with cancer and they met with hospice representatives last week. Sueb0b has repeatedly asked her social media community to give them the boost of comment love while we're waiting to hear what else we can do to help. She is extremely displeased at the rate of return she's getting on those requests. So, if you are able to take just a moment to say howdy and we're thinking of you to Cindy & Chris you would spread cheer in a number of directions.

*Photos from this set.

Choice, Not Necessarily Good

I'm working on a list for today. The plan is for more cheerful things. In the mean time, I wound up watching a lot of movies this weekend so I updated at Please Pass the Popcorn. You know, for posterity.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Double Fister

You guys, 2012 is not only a bitch she's a relentless one. I'm kind of frightened about what she's going to do next.

My schoolmate, Mia, lost her other cat, Lucy, today. Less than a week. I can't even imagine. I gave all my pets pizza crust tonight, I lavished treats on Ed and Bu, we went on a long walk, and it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Losing two of your foot warmers in one week is heart wrenching.

Sending all my love both North and Westward.

Let's Do This Properly

I have avoided this long enough.

Mallow the deaf chihuahua was diagnosed with some complications months ago. We didn't know how things would go for her but she hung in here for a good while. She loved the heck out of her people and she was uber tolerant of even a complex costume. She was mistress of a thousand expressions and took no shit from her larger companions.  Recently she died and is greatly missed.

Meanwhile on another coast entirely a cat named Loki threw in the towel after 16 years of companionship to an old schoolmate of mine. Mia sent him off to Valhalla with a heavy heart but knowing it was time. (Sorry, no photo available. You'll have to take my word for it that he was a looker.)

In honor of Mallow and Loki please observe the tradition. My dog will probably be getting treats for jumping around and barking like a fool. It's what comes naturally to him and, as much as we need to get a handle on it, I know I'll miss it when it's gone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Refuting Fleetwood Mac

The grapevine in our smaller-than-it-looks neighborhood has been churning. It is, in fact, giving that old Faberge Organics commercial a run for its money. Sadly, as with most games of Telephone, the information has lost something in the translation.

He has lost a surprising amount of weight. He has lost not even an ounce of his personal brand of bounce and boogie. He is surprised and delighted by the marrow and ice cream and cheese that rains down upon him unrequested.

He lives!

And the people rejoice.

*All photos taken on 1/26/2012, 1 day after his release from VERG.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not Quite Out Of The Sty

I remain just wrung out. I'm a wallower, I admit it. I think there's value in a short wallow. Didn't Lorelei Gilmore say that?

I have a Treats for Everyone post to do but I simply can't. It's not for Bu. All reports say he is "surprisingly chipper." I'm going to go lay eyes on him this evening and have secured permission to take his photo for proof of his survival and general wellness. I am sure that I will feel better after kissing his big, boney head again. When I saw him last the vet tech said, "Do you need more time with him?" That's the phrase you're supposed to use only when someone is holding a dead body. Didn't they teach her that in her orientation? So, yeah, going to hand a marrow bone to the superhuman dog and get right with his recovery.

How about a few links today, maybe you need something to read and clearly I can't write it.

1. Here's something that's just so ding dang cute, can you stand it? Does it mean I'll have to get a big dog to carry my little dog when he gets old?

2. Feministing did an interesting round up of ways in which other politicians have fielded the declaration that President Obama is a muslim. Even some of the ones I thought were pretty good or at least inoffensive they're showing me are reinforcing the erroneous belief. Interesting.

3. I love a lot of the photos in the White House's Flickr stream but this one I wanted to share. Tough election year, tough speech, and his reward was to give good news to the family of a service member. That's even better than a bowl of ice cream.

4. For a while I've had my heart set on my dog taking the therapy dog training. He's already been in similar situations and done very well. The one thing I think he will suck at is taking the test and some recent escalations in questionable behavior have given me a small case of the despairs. Now that I know this kind of therapy is possible, though, my efforts are redoubled!

5. I, like a lot of people, still have really mixed feelings about Joe Paterno. It probably is too soon for a joke about him but I got caught up in the intelligence of this joke so I'm going to link to it. If it's too soon for you then please don't click the link.

6. Let's move right on to another joke. This one from a Canadian blog and it's ragging on some fucking dumbass recent legislative efforts here in the US. I'll say one thing for congress, it's good for late night talk show hosts!

7. Who likes books? Here's some library porn. A personal library, too. The personal library of a famous author but still. Green with envy!

8. This link is not a joke but I bet you will laugh and laugh and laugh.

9. I don't know if I asked it here, might have just been on Facebook, but I'm working on a plan to make a sort of warming coat for my dog. He suffers, pauvre puppy. He suffers so much he becomes French when the chips are down. Anyway, here's the idea, dog backpack (small, not red) with some warming device in the saddle bags. Do you think these things would work as the warmers? Theory is that if the rice is dry enough it won't smell like food and make him a portable dinner for passing dogs when he's on a walk.

OK, now tell me something I don't know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just Like A Country Tune

Still managing to keep up with my goals from the turning of the year. Crazy Heart made me squirmy. Not in the good, Colin Farrell way.

UPDATED: Anatomy Lesson of Terror

Update: As of noon today he's home!

To be clear at the beginning, this is not a Treats for Everyone post.

Yesterday our beloved Bucephalus was badly injured in a...kerfuffle in the park. After a very long day of waiting yesterday the word is that he will recover, albeit slowly. Since I wasn't able to get so listy yesterday here's a few of the things we learned.

The boy scouts teach you to put pressure on a wound. They do not clearly articulate how much pressure is required to stop a pumping chest wound.

Related to the above: Kayaking turns out to be an excellent muscle builder for putting pressure on a terrible wound. While we can definitively recommend kayaking we cannot so much recommend the other.

Our neighborhood is fabulous. From friends to strangers people come through in an emergency with a swiftness and commitment that I admire enormously.

Parents who value their ability to help save a dog's life above the question of how they will present the situation to their kids are golden. Though it may sound hyperbolic I believe that those parents are raising stronger, braver, smarter citizens who will be valuable contributors to their community in the long run.

Related to the above: Kids bring a much-needed levity to horrible situations. "You know what's good about this? I've been having a lot of trouble with my creative writing. Now I've got something to write about!"

Related to that: A kid who is interested in sharks, even a young kid, will have a basic understanding of the principles of a tourniquet.

The crash after a rush of adrenaline will make you feel pukey.

We live near one of the rockingest emergency veterinary clinics I've ever been to and, sadly, I've been to a few.

Traffic on Atlantic in rush hour sucks donkey dick.

Medical dramas and war movies are surprisingly realistic in their portrayal of the horrifying, blood-pumping-out-of-the-body emergencies. There is really that much blood and it stains your hands and your clothes and it smells in a way that makes your cats' noses perk up.

Related to the above: "Cold water and swift action" is a good motto for both blood stains and kayaking. Maybe a lot of other things, too.

The biggest, and perhaps most joyful, lesson learned yesterday is that a dog's body will find a work around if the jugular vein is severed. (Not so for the carotid artery, just the jugular vein.) That body will be bruised and swollen and will take time and effort to heal but with care it will make the necessary adjustments. Obviously that's not a course of action one wants to endorse but it's good to know that, in a pinch, your dog can spare the thing.

While, I repeat, it's not a Treats for Everyone post (thank fucking everything I can think of) I wouldn't call you crazy if you gave your pets an extra snuggle, walk, or juicy t-bone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 Thin...Ah Fuck It

It's list day and you know how much I love a good list. This morning I was planning all the lists I could give you. A few short hours later and this is how any list I make is going to look:

1. Fuck cancer

2. Fuck stupid people

3. Fuck fate

4. Fuck 2012

5. Fuck lists!

6. Lather

7. Rinse

8. Fucking repeat

So, let's just agree that this is not a good day for me to be making lists in a productive way. I can ask questions, though. I'm equipped for that. Here's one for you:

To what would you like to give a hearty 2 fingered salute? (Answer as often as you like.)

*The dog does not have cancer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In Memoriam: Lord Diggleston of Upper Parksbury

Recently I was trying to explain the Treats For Everyone tradition here to Wendi Aarons so she wouldn't think I was weird(er) for posting about her cat's death on my blog. It's a touchy subject. I often feel as though I talk about death more than is comfortable for a lot of people. I think that people who get to know me realize it's just part of who I am and I hope they realize that it can be pretty useful to have one of those people around. For the uninitiated, though, I fear coming across as a (bigger) nutbag. So I scrolled through the posts under the Treats for Everyone tag to check and see if it represented me well before I sent the link to a writer I like and admire. I wound up in a spiral of remembrance. I realized that Pinto had died a year and a day after Emily. Now I will fear October with all my pets. When I got to Diego's short entry I had to stop.

I never wrote about his death. It was too complicated and emotional and at the time I posted I hadn't had a chance to talk to much of anyone about it. I thought I'd go back to it later. By now, of course, our whole canine clique has talked about it. A lot. We speak of him fondly and, if not often, certainly regularly. I could go back again and write about his life and death but I don't know...I just might not be ready to do that. It's kind of a you-had-to-know-him situation and I have to admit being reluctant to open him up to scrutiny. After Emily died I would occasionally go over to walk Diego. Ostensibly it was to help out his family because they were having trouble giving him enough exercise safely since his brain was broken and his reactions could be unpredictable. Really, though, it was because I was afraid to get out of the habit of walking a dog and he was a fucking dream on a leash 99% of the time. So we would walk a carefully planned route and I would talk to him and pretend I was doing him a favor when I'm sure he knew it was the other way around.

And now I'm crying.

A few days after I sent the link to Wendi Amy sent me a photo of Diggy that she'd come across (below). The subject line of the email was, "Why am I doing this to you?" and the only text was "Because I can't suffer alone." And I wouldn't want her to. I wanted to see the picture. I wanted to see more pictures and it took me about four days to get up the guts to tell her so. As I told Amy, I have a few of them but when you think about the fact that they're all we're ever going to have they just aren't enough. I think I am in possession of all the photos anyone has ever taken of Emily. I can't ever get any more of her. But Diego, not so much.

Today we emailed back and forth about Lord Diggleston's best and worst qualities and she sent me a bunch of photos. Some of them I had seen and loved before and a few I never had. Some day I'll probably tell his whole story (subject to permission of course) but today I just wanted to share some pictures, to have them saved for posterity in searchable format on the almighty internet.

He's a gorgeous boy, don't you think?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Struck By...Something

OK, internet, we all know I'm crazy but mostly the affable Zooey-Deschanel-without-cleavage kind of crazy. I tread pretty close to the line, though, but at least I know it. At least I'm aware that I need to check in periodically to make sure I haven't turned the corner to Grey-Gardens-with-the-decorating-scheme kind of crazy.

This is one of those times.

It's cold out, that's no surprise, it's winter in New York. The dog gets cold, which is also not a surprise. This is an animal that seeks out a patch of sun to nap in when it's 90 degrees out. He likes to get in under the bed where it's really hot when the temps go over 80, just to get himself comfortable. My apartment is routinely over 85F in the winter and he likes to sleep under the comforter down near my feet. He's a hot temp dog is what I'm saying. He has quality outerwear bought and handmade for him by friends and family. He hates putting these things on but I force it, dragging him out from under the dining room table and from behind chairs to zap him with the relentless static of a sweater and coat. Still it's 18F with a whipping wind and we wind up staying outside for an hour at a stretch a lot of mornings. I'm starting to worry that the cumulative effect of so much time outside is hurting him. 

I've wanted to get the dog a backpack. This is not crazy. This might be self-preservation on some level. Need to make him carry his own weight and so he gets tired reliably. I've held off because I haven't seen one in the wild and I'm never confident about what things will fit my oddly proportioned dog. Today, while buying cat food, I saw that the local pet food store had my first choice backpack (small, preferably not red) available. So I checked out how it would look on him and I think it'd be a good fit. I think I might be able to get it slightly cheaper online so I'm holding out for that.

As I walked out of the store I had an inspiration. This is where it might be turning the corner so please keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times. What if I got him the backpack and he wore that instead of the coat, maybe on top of the sweater still, and then I put chemical hand warmers or small reheateable rice bags or, I don't know, baked potatoes in the backpack to keep him warm? On a scale of Queen Elizabeth to George III exactly how crazy is that?

Anyone? Why are you backing away like that? It's just a question, I haven't done it yet! Guys? Guys! Guys?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Little Plastic Cars

There have been some sad doings in some of the annexes of 117 Hudson these last weeks. They aren't my stories to tell but I've been spending some energy trying to help people make themselves big enough to hold* their challenges. In the end, though, there isn't a ton I can do to help. I try to honor their philosophies by making forward motion. Yesterday alone I had a vocal coaching session, an hour with an accompanist, and I taught myself how to shoot in manual mode on my camera (hence these photos). That's quite enough self-improvement for one day, thanks.

The other thing I'm trying to do is laugh every day. Today, of course, it snowed and we went to the park. Dogs in snow is always good for at least one laugh, usually more. Seeing Ben's pure joy undiluted even when Mr. Smith took him out at the knees kept me going for a good, long time. There weren't any belly laughs, though, maybe the snow was in my eyes. Sometimes perhaps you need an element of surprise to light a fire under your cackler.

Tonight I did laundry**. When I got to the laundry room there was a father-son pair in there. At least I think it was a father and a son, they were so tightly bundled against the cold I could only guess. The father was sorting laundry and the son was playing with some plastic cars. As I loaded up a washer I could hear the little guy talking through his play but he was so muffled up I couldn't hear what he was saying except for the occasionally repeated, "Wahoo!" mumble mumble mumble mumble "Wahoo!" mumble mumble mumble "Wahoo!" mumble "Wahoo!" etc. I had to cover my giggles in a dirty sweater so as not to embarrass anyone. It was a great laugh, even when suppressed. Thanks, kid.


*Remind me to tell you about that phrase some time.
**I know. Laundry on a Saturday night. I didn't want to make you jealous but it was integral to the story.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sending Good JuJu

Do me a favor today, will you? Meditate a bit on this picture today. One of these ladies could use the good thoughts.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Always, Except For Now

I am generally all for handing kids dark, difficult material and letting them work out what they can about it. Stupid, probably, given that I was a child scarred by an accidental partial viewing of a black and white version of Moby Dick. Still, if they're interested I figure let's have at it! I'm currently deciding whether 10 is too young an age for Godspell or Porgy & Bess.

Twice, though, in recent memory I have been knocked back. The first was when someone passed The Book Thief along to me. I read it, didn't love it, felt it was disturbing in a creeping, cold way and wondered why so many people were talking about it. Then someone, Chili maybe, described it as a Young Adult book. That I did find disturbing. I don't think it's inappropriate at all in terms of subject matter, it just doesn't feel like YA lit to me. Something about the way the story was told felt too adult and not young enough.

Earlier this month a children's librarian I love and trust sent me a book call The White Darkness. There's no confusion here. It's an award-winning YA book with a style and feel of books in that vein. The plot, though, the subject matter, well, I....I just don't know.

It's about the Antarctic. It's about taking an unexpected trip there. It's about family and trust and knowledge and self-esteem. It's a coming-of-age story, sure, but it's a coming-of-age against all odds story that's much more visceral than any C. S. Lewis concoction that's for sure. I didn't laugh or cry so I thought at first that the harrowing tale hadn't made me feel anything. Then I realized it had made me feel cold, hollow, and not a little despairing.

I'm glad I read it. It's sure as shit sticking with me. I can't stop talking about it. I just don't know that I'd recommend it to any young adults. I'm particularly wary of suggesting it to anyone who mirrors the protagonist; smart, sensitive, a little out of step with the in-crowd. I think those kinds of kids might find this story earth shaking.

Or maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Photo Challenge: Resolved

If you're a casual internet user you may not know that today was a day of action for people who oppose two bills in Congress. The bills are meant to fight internet piracy but instead will...you know, just click over to The Oatmeal which is the simplest and nicest way to learn about something that will likely affect you, the casual internet user, more than it will the average internet pirate.

The action that most people took was to black out their sites or not to post. The time frame wasn't strictly defined but for most it was 8am to 8pm. Which is all to explain why the photo challenge is late today. Please enjoy the photos and then join the fight against SOPA and PIPA.

It's only me and lshykula in the challenge this time around so I put in two for each of us. Scroll down for the next prompt.

Lisa has been taking just amazing photos of the mountains in her home state. Purple mountains majesty indeed.

I don't actually know if this chord was resolving or not. Sounded good, though.

At this point we both got all tech geeky and started playing with apps to make composite photos.

Terriers have a wicked sense of resolve when they're on task. Buce is no exception.

In honor of the internet pirates who started this legislative snowball the next prompt is ARRRRR! Which is also kind of in honor of how growly I feel now that we're solidly in winter.

Please add your photos to our Flickr photo pool by 9am on Tuesday January 31st for posting on Wednesday February 1st. (ARRR! February already!) Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chancing It

I watched an HBO film about military escorts for bodies returning from combat death.  I wrote about it over at Please Pass the Popcorn.

Five By Five* Weekend

2. Had dinner with Kath to celebrate my birthday. That's when we took all these photos.

4. Impersonated The Tooth Fairy via phone to help someone remember to leave his tooth for pick up. If I had it to do all over again I'd refine the character.

6. Got a brand new cable box/DVR that's top of the line and has never been used by another home before. Fancy.

8. Worked on my Angry Birds technique. I'm not a lot better but I think I'm getting a feel for it.

10. Finished The White Darkness and began The Name of This Book is Secret.

*Name the fictional character who helped bring this expression into the popular lexicon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And One More Thing For Your Birthday

Chili celebrates her appearance on the planet today. 

We've texted and Facebooked over the course of the day.

Wouldn't be the same if I didn't gather a few hot folks for her, though.

This is a hodge podge of delicious beauties.

I don't even know if she knows them all. 

For instance Chris Hemsworth (below) I found on an Outlander fantasy casting blog post. (Check out who they chose for Claire. SO AGREE.)

Oh, and these guys are the best vampires with souls (most of the time) that I ever did see. 

Hope you like all these pretties. 

I do it 'cause I like you.

Happy Birthday!

And many more.