Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing Out the Old

I've been quiet here but I've been thinking about you. I've wanted to write but not had time or space to sit down and do so.

I find that with a deadline I get absolutely obsessed with finishing things. Sometimes the things I'm freaking out about finishing have nothing to do with the deadline. There's no need for me to finish the book on my bedside table by midnight but for two days I've been itchy about it. I'm not going to wear the hat I'm knitting to tonight's party so why do I feel like the last thread needs to be woven in by the time the ball drops? Sometime between the 2nd or 3rd glass of wine last night and the dog park this morning I was able to let those things go.

Fortunately posting something to the blog stayed with me. I want to be here. I want to say one more thing, anything, before we head into the new year and say the next things.

This Christmas season I was wildly grateful to have the friends that I have. We had opportunities to make people's lives better and we did it with speed, efficiency, and grace. We had members who needed help, a lot of help, and they've been needing a lot of help for a while and together we figured out how to keep giving it. We celebrated the season. We enjoyed our families. We didn't exert the pressure on ourselves or our loved ones that it's so easy to use. I am proud to know them all.

My apartment is a mess. My animals are insane. I haven't looked carefully over 2014 or decided what I think about 2015. But I have a party to go to tonight and a tradition to observe and some things I'd like to do before it's time to get gussied up. Tomorrow is another day. The first day of another year (something someone pointed out we can say about every day) and I'm ready to move forward into it.


That might just be my word for 2015.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Photo Challenge: THANKS

Stay tuned for a very special announcement at the end of this post, please. Take your time, though, don't rush by the pretty pictures by me and Our Cindy.

There's so much to be thankful for in the only snap I took of a party at my house last week. The surprise guest on the left, the laughter of those two goofballs in the middle, my house all spiffed up by Queen Bee. My cup of good fortune runneth over.

If it were my job to title Our Cindy's photos (and it's totally not) I'd call this one Perspective. Or maybe Perspective On Clarity? No, what about Clear Perspective? I'd call it something, though, because I'd want to find it again because it's very cool. (I am terrible at this titling job.)

This dude is crying out for me to be grateful. Well, he's crying out for everything but that is, I suspect, because his thyroid is way out of whack again. He's a mystery. Should have died before he was 6 and he's chugging away into his 15th year now so I'm not making any predictions, I'm just enjoying him while I can.

Our Cindy claims this shot is from a camping trip but this does not look like camping to me. Regardless of the living conditions I really want to know what this young chef is saying. I expect she has wisdom to impart.

Here is the Very Special Announcement: There is no prompt. Also, it's not two weeks until our next display. I'm going to take off from the photo challenges for the holidays. I am including my birthday in the holidays so the next photo challenge will be posted on 1/14. I'll remind you before then, don't worry. In the mean time please keep taking pictures and noticing the world around you and being grateful for it as I am grateful for you.

Happy snapping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Photo Challenge: PREP

Some just amazing shots in this one. I've really loved the choices. Since we have 3 photographers entered this time around I'm going to go ahead and post 2 pics each so you can see more of what I love. Still, go to the Flickr group and check out what you're missing! I couldn't feature everything.

This is a hard working squirrel up in Our Janet's neck of the woods. He should be envious of the Brooklyn squirrels who are already so porked up they can hardly be bothered to run away from my dog!

I don't even have a clever caption for this tableau in Our Bethany's yard. I mean, doesn't the whole scene transcend language?

This was a fabulous photo shoot prepping for the release of an album entitled Sticky. I love being a concrete part of my friends' projects.

While technically this is not a photo that I took (I'm the one in blue here) it is a favorite of mine, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Our Janet always honors the care that goes into making delicious food. My mouth is watering. It's been far too long since I've had creme brûlée.

Our Bethany's husband smiles most of the time but rarely this big pipe-eating grin. Some of the paintings in this photo (and many others) are still available as part of the S.T.A.S.H. sale Michael is conducting to help them kick off their next big family adventure. (Sale ends Nov 21, do not delay!)

You can probably guess the next prompt easily. THANKS! I don't even care if you interpret that sarcastically.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday December 2nd for posting on December 3rd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and PREP. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh Sonny Boy The Pipes, The Pipes Are Callin'

We lost another one today. He was 16 and he didn't feel well and it was the right thing to do for him but for his people... Well, we all know we never have them long enough. Even the terrors, even the freaks, even the ones who bent us to their will are too, too sorely missed. This guy was no terror, though.

OK, actually there is this one story about how his girl came home one day when he was about a year old and found him in the kitchen sink (he's a 90lb dog!), all four feet in the damn sink, and he was chewing on the wooden spoons in the utensil jug on the counter. But he wasn't a terror. He was determined and smart and he loved attention.

So, today is a good time to remind you of a very important tradition here at 117 Hudson. I call it Treats For Everyone. It goes like this: On a day when someone's pet dies we give treats to our pets just for breathing. For standing there. For giving us the proverbial puppy dog eyes. They get treats because we are fortunate to still have them here and we know that won't always be the case. There but for the know?

Please, treats for everyone today. The good stuff, don't half-ass it. Because today we lost one of the greats and our hearts are broken.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Photo Challenge: SAFE

This is one of the ones where I twist the rules. We only had 2 entrants so I'm showing 2 photos from each of us!

 Watching your youngest boy jump from 130 feet in the air. Our Bethany has nerves of steel.

I've had several conversations this week about how fantastic the tap water is in NYC. Leaving the city and confidently drinking from a tap can be a huge disappointment.

What a cozy little world some of Our Bethany's family members made!

I was incredibly lucky to have this theatre and this particular festival incubate some of my work. I miss it.

I am in preparation mode for so many things these days. Since our next challenge period ends right before Thanksgiving let's use PREP for a prompt. You can work with that, right?

Please enter by 9am Tuesday November 18th for posting on November 19th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and PREP. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honorable And Mentioned

I feel a responsibility to explain why I still dress my dog in costume even once a year and how I went about it. Then I went down a bad rabbit hole on the internet and I feel a stubborn refusal to explain myself to anyone about anything.

The short version is that we worked hard to make this costume as comfortable as possible for Ed. He didn't love wearing it but he was comfortable enough to pee and bark and take treats in it. I feel ok about my decision.

Were you to have seen his appearance on stage, though, you might not have believed all the work we did. I shielded him slightly from the audience, walked over to the emcee and borrowed her mic to announce, "And now, whether you want her or not.......HEDWIG!"

The crowd roared!

I carried him downstage center and offered him a piece of cheese.

No thank you.

I walked away from him thinking he might get up.

No thank you.

I offered him more cheese.

No, he replied turning just his head around to give me a look over his shoulder.

I called him and knelt down and patted my knees and....


The audience laughed.

I laughed harder.

It all took maybe 30 seconds and then I lifted him up, toured him past the judges, and left the stage.

He was happy to be down on the ground again where he was perfectly able to walk and pee and bark and eat some cheese.

We didn't win one of the big three prizes. We did get an honorable mention. I think he's had one of those three out of his four years entering. We were, I think, a cult favorite. Several fans of the Broadway show stopped us and asked for photos. We had a good time, cheese equals a good time, right?

Photo credits (in order): Amy Frankel at Gothamist, Fort Greene Focus, Mark Allen Berube.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photo Challenge: RED/READ

Whew! Sorry I'm so late. I got this complicated and time consuming internet research job tossed on my desk and it scrambled my brain a bit. I haven't even seen who entered the challenge yet. I'm going to be as surprised and excited as you!

New photog alert! Do I know Beekeepers2007 under another screen name? S/he seems to know me really well. Of course I would choose the pic referencing my Sox.

I can't help but wonder if Our Cindy is the first person to read these. Look at the bold NOT HERE notation.

There's something really visceral about the color and texture of these berries in Our Sara's front yard. I can feel them between my teeth.

I love to read. I use it sometimes, though, as a pacifier. I'm embarrassed to say that looking at what's on the pictured pages I can't remember reading this at all. No bells are ringing. What's wrong with me?

Occasionally we get a video. We need a little variety! Here's one by Our Bethany, featuring one of my very favorite storytellers.

It so happens that while I'm doing this I'm monitoring a news story where people are having to shelter in place at the Canadian capitol. So, let's call the next prompt SAFE. That's weirdly appropriate for Halloween and Election Day, too, right?

Please enter by 9am Tuesday November 4th for posting on November 5th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SAFE. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Round 'Em Up!

Do you guys know that I've had a tab open in my browser for months? It might be as many as 6 months. It's an old post of Our Bethany's about parenting. I wanted to share it but, I guess, wanted to read all the comments first. Then the comments became hard to read and I stopped and it's just been sitting there, waiting for all these months! Here's the link. The comments aren't like incoherent crappy spelling video of someone getting punched in the nuts comments. They're honest comments and emotional ones and the discussion gets a little heated. That's all.

While we're on the subject of Our Bethany. Her family is embarking on an adventure. You can follow along here.

On being afraid of the word FEMINIST.

Neil Gaiman's thoughts on good people and bad people.

A nice info graphic about how much money is saved when we spend money on family planning.

The dirty truth about what you're saying when you say that we can't raise the minimum wage.

The next like 17 hearted posts in my BlogLovin' feed are from Inkdot so you should probably just make a habit of checking in with her regularly.

Here are some guidelines for napping. I have a very hard time sticking to these guidelines.

In case you haven't been keeping up with the continued goings on in Ferguson, MO I've been doing it for you. It's not very efficient this way, though. You should be all over Twitter and blogs and news sites because this is where the revolution is starting right now and we need to build on this momentum. First job: Learn the name Vonderrit Myers Jr. He was 18 years old. 18. Not even old enough to drink in a bar.

Neil Gaiman boosting the signal on a double standard for religions.

xkcd did an informative panel on the parallel between interracial marriage and same gender marriage. It's not all that fucking parallel.

You should also just follow Neil Gaiman in all his media forms. But I'm sharing this bit about Doctor Who writers anyway because, SERVED.

This is a mildly sciencey article on a science blog about dogs and dog training. However, the subject is turkey and tryptophan so it's relevant to humans as well. The conclusions may surprise you!

Sometimes it's the little steps your kid takes that blow you away more than the milestones you prepare for. Go Schuyler!

I have been cold all summer. Yesterday I heard a dad and daughter on the way to school chanting, "We want autumn! We want autumn!" I had to physically restrain myself from shouting back, "You had autumn all summer! Don't be greedy!" I love the photo of Abbie Lynne at the bottom of this post and I love the way Sueb0b is writing about the heat, both internal and external, so I'm sharing this anyway.

This is a really interesting query about medical instruction procedures for discharging patients. They may have come to a conclusion in the comments but it's still worth reading.

This is a post about baseball songs. Part way through there's a bit about a song called A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request. I want to read the lyrics but can't find them anywhere. I will watch one of the videos as soon as I have a minute.

So, unsurprisingly some FOX News commentators said some foolishly nasty things about a female pilot in the UAE military. A group of US Military folks chose to respond. Their letter is basically what I always think of about 2 days after any argument where I'm totally right and the other person is a shithead. It's really a joy to read the whole thing so click through from the Feministing article to get the full scope.

That's my high note. I'm leaving on it.

Photo: A small portion of a gorgeous installation by my friend, Anne.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Photo Challenge: CONTRAST

I found this one tough. Fortunately others did not. Really interesting stuff.

I see a lot of contrasts in Our Bethany's simple shot. How many do you see?

Found in a box of things Mama Kizz gave me from my old room. Some of its contrast is fading but I can still see it clearly.

Deep contrast of both color and emotion, at least for me, in this one by Our Ana. (Due to technical issues this could not be displayed.)

For some reason the prompt needs to be READ. Could be RED. You decide.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday October 21st for posting on October 22nd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and READ/RED. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

A Few Quickies

If all goes according to plan I will have all of Sunday to myself. It will be the first day I'll have all to myself in three weeks. For some of you that will sound like a horror. Others will understand exactly why I hold the fact up like Simba on the cliff in the opening of The Lion King. I am lucky to be so busy. This means that the dog training is going well. I am learning and teaching and people are liking what I have to give. It's a return to an old way of life, though, and it's taking some getting used to. In addition there's been some sad news, nothing directly related to me but the wolves are scratching at the door so it's a time for care and self-care. I wanted to come over and say hi, though.

Hey, Laura, how's your puppy? We need pictures!

One of the sad pieces of news was that Dr. Sophia Yin died this week. I didn't know her personally and I don't know her work well enough yet but she was a champion of the force free animal training movement and her loss is felt deep and wide. I encourage you to check out her website and all the amazing free resources. This is for dog people, cat people, chicken people, fish people, turtle people, really everyone.

Here's an uplifting story from this summer. It's about dancing and connecting.

I haven't had a chance to read this article about Gone Girl but it sounds as if it'll be quite satisfying to those of us who were irked beyond measure by the book.

In the No Surprises category there's this chart about the correlation between reproductive rights restriction and shitty health care for women and children. I'm pleased and surprised to see that NH seems to be the top scorer here.

Scalzi sums up a problem with atheism quite nicely. I'm glad to say that I know some atheists who are careful not to fall into the religion-adjacent zealotry he talks about. I'm sad to say that's not true of all the atheists I know.

Also from the Scalzi a fun twitter play about an asshole.

My old friend, Leon, blogged all the says of Elul again this year. I enjoyed all his reflections and always seem to find parts of the practice that really speak to me. His final post of the set was something I wanted to share with you.

If anyone around you has screws loosening because the media is playing them about the Ebola situation I urge you to direct them to this video of a young nursing student who safely cared for family members with Ebola by devising protective gear out of trash bags. If she can hold her shit together so can we.

I come from a set of people (both related to me by blood and not) who tend to live healthy lives well into their 80s and 90s. As much as I can see where this article is coming from it made me rageful. It made me want to send the author VCR tapes of Logan's Run.

Schuyler Rummel-Hudson is a kid I've never met or even corresponded with and yet I want all the best things for her in an urgent way. Her dad wrote some lovely words about her experiences as a new high school student.

FYI, if you're anti-abortion you're making it easier for domestic violence perpetrators to keep their victims silent. Just in case you might think that's a bad thing.

Desperately trying to end on a high note here and I think I've got something. A noble response from members of the military to a terrible member of the media corps. (I encourage you to click through to the entire, not very long, response because it is a delight.)

Without a trace of humor I implore you, let's be careful out there.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

At Some Point You Have To Laugh

 I kind of could not buy a break today. Very early on it became ridiculous enough that I just started to laugh. I record it here in hopes you, too, can find the humor in it.

I sometimes take extra work to pad the coffers. I do have a lot of pets and a singing habit to support. Today I was slated to work the Spoonable table at the Chili Pepper Festival. Just last night I signed on to go an hour earlier to help unload. Here's how that went:

Had my period so not feeling 100%.

Get up just after dawn and walk the dog.

Come back and turn on the shower. Stick my hand in to check the temp. Temp is freezing and not getting better. I proceed to stand at the very back of the shower and dip parts of me into the icy waterfall until the important parts are clean.

Take just one advil because I'm trying to be virtuous.

Get myself to my ride and proceed to the garden where we have help unloading and one colleague is waiting for me. We get to our station and start to set up.

The tent is missing part of one leg. It is unusable. It's warming up to the mid-80s, we're in a sunny location, and serving food. I call M and she goes shopping for a tent...amongst both Halloween and Christmas decorations in the local big stores.

While waiting to hear back from M I continue setting up, crouch down to pick up a box and riiiiiiiiiiip goes the very, VERY upper thigh of my jeans.

Well, it's sunny and mid-80s so I take off my long sleeved shirt and tie it around my waist. I didn't intend for anyone to see me in this particular tank top after my cursory shower but them's the breaks.

I put on my sunglasses and slap on some sunscreen because, wow, I am not fully exposed to the rays.

Our other colleague arrives, we finish setting up. M calls to say she's not having luck and I should ask the garden folks if they have a tent we can use. They say they'll see what they can do. 

We proceed to serve tastes and sell jars of caramel to the expected 11,000 guests. We do not stop talking to people or moving from 11:00am until the festival closes at 6:00pm. I did get a chance to take one bathroom break and didn't bleed on any of my clothing.

About noon M calls to say that she has a patio umbrella and she's on her way but we'll have to fill the base with water. When I tell L she points to the tent that the garden folks have just that second dropped off for us. M returns the umbrella and I flag down two maintenance guys who super kindly help us erect the tent and the surrounding crowd cheers. I pay those men in caramel.

Around 3:00pm, with plenty of product left to taste and sell L turns to me and says, "We're out of tasting spoons." We had 1 and 2/3 boxes of tasting spoons at 11:00am. Each box contains, I believe, 10,000 spoons. I am incredulous but she is correct. I call M. She is also incredulous. People still want tastes. M troubleshoots for a new tasting delivery device while....[description of what we did while we waited for her to come to us with a solution is redacted in case the health department is reading, it wasn't strictly against regulations but it wasn't strictly adhering to them either and I still can't believe people we cool with it, like everyone from kids to old grandmas, it was hilarious].

M arrives with a box of coffee stirrers and we closed out the day. She drove us home and there was some traffic but it was nice to be in the car with the AC so all was well.

My grocery delivery even came early...but with one item wrong. But they issued me a credit and didn't need that [number redacted] pint of ice cream anyway.

So now I'm sitting on the couch watching old episodes of The Young Riders and contemplating another advil. It's also becoming distractingly clear that I won't be able to reach the sunburned parts of me to apply soothing gel because I couldn't reach them to put sunscreen on them in the first place. Fortunately they're small sections of me and I'm sure I'll survive.

How was your day?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Photo Challenge: CHANGE

I think you're going to like this one. There's a lot of variety.

There's always a jokester in the crowd. Usually it's Our Janet's husband, Dave, but this time she took his place!

I used to walk by a building full of government offices on my way to the train. Now I walk by this.

I wonder if Our Bethany feels a special kinship with this costume changer these days.

Our Ana's community lost a key member. I'm so sorry to hear it.

The next prompt is CONTRAST. Nope, I don't know why, it just is!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday October 7th for posting on October 8th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and CONTRAST. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Only Time He Doesn't Bark

After a long period of hemming and hawing I subscribed to Barkbox for Ed. I am not being compensated in any way for this post. Honestly, I just want to make the folks at Barkbox laugh.

I knew this was going to happen. It's not worth lying about. I didn't get the subscription as much for Ed as I did for myself. I wanted to be one of the cool kids who gets neat new things for their dog and enriches his life through the discovery of the exact perfect treat or toy. It was to make me look good to...someone. Sure I told anyone who knew Ed it was so I could try out the service in case dog training clients asked me about it but that was just a convenient excuse.

Elvis Can't Read
Under this premise I carried our first box home laboriously on the subway just in case (just in case) Ed would tear into it joyfully like some other dogs plastered all over the internet. I had my camera at the ready when I set the box on the floor.

Elvis & Anna Hatching A Plan
I had to set the camera down briefly so I could open the box a little, just in case the closed box was too hard for him.

Anna Always Runs Point
Finally I opened the packing paper, too. Then I called him over.

Like A Toddler Anna Tastes Everything She Doesn't Yet Understand
Ok, not finally at all. I pulled out a toy and crinkled and squeaked it to beat the band! With all the excitement I could muster I tossed the toy directly in front of my precious precious pumpkin.

The Only Picture Of Ed In This Whole Post
It's still lying right there in the same place today.

Undeterred I moved on to unpacking the treats myself. I squirreled away the Etta Says Rabbit Chew because I know he likes chews and he already had a new one to work on. They take him weeks at a time. I knew that the chances of him tearing into any new treat right away were slim at best. More like a fairy tale. I have found, though, that if I give him a tiny piece and I offer it to him a couple of times he'll usually try it and often learn to love it. The Petsafe Indigo Smokehouse Strips (Bacon Flavor) looked complicated to open so I ripped into these crinkle cut squishy duck treats (Nootie Jerky Burger in BBQ Duck Flavor) and broke off a tiny piece to try on my picky eater. I have since tried to give him a tiny piece in several locations nearly every day for 5 days. He's just not into it. He has actually taken a couple of those tiny pieces into his mouth, chewed once, and spit them back out.

The cats on the other hand...

It's Blurry But You Can See Him Slapping Me
They'd have eaten the whole bag if I'd have let them. Considering what I had to clean out of the litter box the following day I'm glad I didn't give them more. It was sweet to see them loving it so hard. Just not sweet enough to justify a repeat performance.

Anna Doesn't Beg From The Floor Like A Peasant
At that point I packed everything up for the day. Put the treats in the pantry, tossed the 2nd toy on the table and left the box on the floor for the cats to sleep in. It provided hours of close-fitting rest until yesterday when something frightened the dog so he peed on it.

My Precious Baby Girl, Not As Tiny As She Used To Be
Also yesterday, though, I got out the scissors and hacked into those Smokehouse Strips. They are rubbery and, though they seem to be scored for separation, are impossible to break down into smaller pieces without scissors or a knife. I took a whole piece and offered it resignedly to Ed, barely even bending down enough to get to his level. He stretched his long neck up, sniffed once, gently grabbed the hunk of bacon and raced away. This is his MO for only the most coveted things, you run to the couch and eat them there in relative safety from ravenous cats. Sometimes, though, he'll think he likes it and when I go to sit down I'll find the treasure stuck to my pants. A minute later he was back in the kitchen door with a very expectant look on his face. Skeptical, I handed him another bacon hunk and SHAZAM he grabbed it and ran for his safe place. Gigantic win, whew!

Despite the tough customer I brought them Barkbox knocked it out of the park. They found something even this special special snowflake could fall in love with. Thanks you guys! I look forward to next month's adventure...and so do my cats.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On This Day We Only Wear Shoes We Can Run In

Find the rest here.

Then go here.