Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Missing Cat Returns Not Unscathed

We are a pet-loving household. I warned Steve, long before we were married that part of the deal should he decide to spend the rest of his life with me, would be a menagerie of pets. Now that I'm in charge of cleaning up after all of the animals we currently possess, I have scaled my needs back to include just two dogs and a cat. Last night, I worried that we might be down to just two dogs.

Kacey the cat's typical routine, for summer at least (she spends all winter impersonating a sofa cushion), is to spend her nights out roaming the neighborhood, to come home briefly to eat breakfast, spend the day asleep, eat dinner, and then head out again. She was in yesterday morning, went out, and then she disappeared. As most cat owners know, when kitty doesn't show up for a regular meal, one of two things has happened: a) something bad or; b) your neighbor is trying to steal your cat away by giving it better treats.

I realized something was up when I started preparing soup for dinner, including a savory broth, and cut up chunks of chicken. Typically the sound of the cutting board being placed on the counter top and the knife being unsheathed from the block is the animals' equivalent to sounding a dinner bell. They come running from all corners of the house. Once I got all the ingredients in the pot, I went outside to see if Kacey was hanging out with the kids while they skated. No cat. Dinner came and went, the dogs got fed, the kids were put to bed, and still she had not appeared. Finally around 10:30 I went to bed, certain that I would spend the next day scouring the neighborhood for her lifeless body.

At 3:30 I got up to see if Steve had let her in after I had gone to bed. Still no Kacey. I lay awake for a couple of hours, mentally composing a missing cat flier and figuring out where I would place them. Telephone poles, light posts, or trees? Which would get more exposure? Eventually I drifted off into a fitful sleep, full of dreams of the dogs finding Kacey dead on the lawn, or trying to introduce a new kitten to the family. Dramatic, aren't I? At first light, I headed out to the sliding glass door, expecting to see her sitting there in the spot she assumes when she has spent the night out. Still no cat. I opened the door and called to her, and almost immediately heard her meow from up on the roof. Nearly 24 hours after we had last seen her, she was back. Unscathed? Of course not.

Poor Kacey has sustained some sort of mysterious injury to her right front paw. I have not yet assessed the extent of the damage but she has an exaggerated limp and the foot looks swollen. She is, at the moment, sleeping on her favorite fleecy robe on my bed. I'm relieved that she has returned, but am dreading the veterinary bill that may accompany this injury.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Punk vs. Parent

Doesn't being a parent suck sometimes? My son is outside skating by himself right now. Why? Because I'm being the tough parent and he's being the kid that listens to his parents. Here is how this situation came about.

Tuesday night he was outside skating with a group of friends. One of these kids is a punk whose parents have pushed away from the meal of parenting like they had a twelve-course helping and can't jam down another bite. At 14 he is not in school. Word on the street says he'll be sent to a boarding school sometime "before Halloween". Meanwhile he spends his waking hours totally unsupervised. While they were skating, the punk refused to move out of the street to make way for a car. When the driver opened her window and made a comment, f-bombs began to drop like rain. I should add here that Weston had JUST come in the house as this went down, so avoided the whole situation by literally seconds. Steve and I were in the kitchen getting dinner on the table and saw all of the action. When the swear words began to fly, the driver made a u-turn and gave chase to the kids, who had taken off running. At that point Steve ran out to intervene*.

Naturally, being caring parents, we had to explain to Weston that he could no longer hang out with the punk. We told him we were worried he would end up getting stabbed or shot by some wacko who didn't appreciate being mouthed off to (excuse my dangling preposition). He has been forbidden to skate anywhere but outside our house if this boy is around. The problem is this kid pretty much stalks Weston and his best friend and fellow skating buddy across the street. Weston's friend cannot always resist the allure of punkdome and sometimes, against his parents' wishes, takes off to skate with the punk, leaving my parent-abiding son alone, feeling like a sap for listening to his mom and making me look like an asshole for trying to be a responsible parent.

*I think I shall buy Steve a white horse**, because he does some serious rescuing when the need arises.

** Actually, I think he might prefer something more along the lines of a BMW. Note to self: Research whether heroing can be accomplished on motorcycle as well as horseback.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where's Moose Killer?

I'm going to beat a dead horse here and talk a little bit more about the presidential race. Why, if we're in the middle of a great economic upheaval, does John McCain have to suspend his campaign? What good does running back to Washington do? How is John McCain going to save us all? And in the unlikely event that he can save us all, what is Moose Killer doing right now? Where has she vanished to, and shouldn't she as his running mate still be on the campaign trail? Isn't this her big opportunity to show us all how she can handle herself in a crisis? What, doesn't McCain trust his own running mate to carry on with the show? My personal feeling is that the Republicans are running a campaign consisting entirely of PR, smoke and mirrors, and the fewer debates they have to participate in the better off they know they'll be. C'mon McCain, you're supposed to be a national hero. Come back out and play fair.

Addendum as of September 26th:

Oh, here she is (Katie Couric sounds like she is interviewing a terrified debutant here, not a candidate for VP of the most powerful nation in the world). And here. And oh, sorry, just had to throw this one in. Holy cow. Could we just keep the McCain campaign suspended for a while because if Obama doesn't get a boost in the polls after this interview, I have got some serious questions to ask about the collective intelligence of the American people.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Maimed Middle Finger Thanks to Pit Bull Attack

Back in April of this year a very sad story came to light involving yet another pit bull attack. On April 11, 2008, Steve Belsley was out walking his shiba inu, Bella when they were attacked by a pit bull that was loose in their San Jose neighborhood. Steve suffered multiple wounds to his hands while trying to defend his dog, but ultimately found himself unable to keep both Bella and himself from being injured. Bella ran away to escape the pit bull and they have not seen her since.

Steve and his wife Terri initiated a massive effort to find Bella and between April and July one could not drive through our area of San Jose without seeing multiple copies of their flier attached to trees and light poles. They even went as far as to set up trail cameras and were able to catch photos of what appeared to be their dog along Coyote Creek. Steve and Terri are still looking for Bella, who continues to be spotted from time to time.

Today, an article came out in our local newspaper, The Mercury News, reporting that the pit bull's owner is facing charges that may ultimately result in him spending up to three years in jail. Steve Belsley is still struggling with his injuries. The paper attributes the following quote to Terri Belsley. "[Steve's] doctor said Monday that he may not be able to fully extend his left middle finger again." Friends, if you can't extend your middle finger to flip off the asshole whose dog caused your hands to be maimed, your pet to run away, and your future as an engineer to be jeopardized, I say three years in jail is way too lenient.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marinating in Wine in Paso Robles

In the face of destruction in the stock market, a teen son boiling over, and all of the stress that inevitably follows back-to-school time, I took off for the weekend with Joanna to do a little (OK maybe a lot of) wine tasting in Paso Robles. Poor Steve got left behind to tend to the kids, but before we left was able to score us a free place to stay in Cayucos. In case you aren't familiar with San Luis Obispo County (Pismo Beach and ALL the clams you can eat!) Cayucos is a little beach town just off Highway 101 that you could glance east to take in the view of the hillsides and miss all together. The breathtaking view of Morro Bay from 101 makes is pretty unlikely that you would look anywhere but west (or southwest for those of you analyzing my post with compass and map in hand (Julia!)).

On the way in on Saturday we stopped first in Paso Robles to pick up six bottles of wine from a tiny winery in an industrial complex. Joanna belongs to the wine club at Hug Cellars and rather than pay for shipping, she had opted for this road trip as a good excuse to get out of town and do a little tasting. Armed with all the El Pape and Pinot Noir we could carry, we headed off to Tablas Creek where the pours were generous, the list was long, and the wine was incredible. Since it was early in the weekend we managed to walk a straight line back to Joanna's little Subaru with a couple of bottles of Cotes de Tables. Our next and final stop was Dover Canyon where many of the lables feature the winery dog. Pours were also generous and the list was equally long, so after tasting here we were a bit unsteady on our pins as we headed to the car with a couple bottles of Cujo Zinfandel and some old vine zinfandel.

At this point it was clear that our tasting day was over and we headed, carefully, down the hill to Cayucos where we spent the rest of the afternoon warbling drunkenly along with SingStar 80's for the PlayStation. We made it through almost the entire song list by the time we needed to get our faces on and head to dinner. A bit more sober, we headed to Hoppe's for some more fine wine and some grub. The food was great, and the locals were drunk and friendly to a fault. Nothing like hearing about someone's colonoscopy to work up an appetite for something chocolaty for dessert!

Sunday, after downing a couple of Alka-Seltzers and a protein-packed breakfast to line the stomach, we were back in fighting form. On the way back to San Jose we stopped at Hunt Wine Cellars where the prices were high, the bottle jockey was enthusiastic, but we were very underwhelmed. After divesting ourselves of our $10 tasting fee we left empty handed for Booker Vineyard. The wines were expensive here as well, but of a much higher quality, so we ended up purchasing a bottle of their cheapest offering, a "pink" wine consisting of a Syrah, Grenache blend. With tired palates our final stop was Terry Hoage Vineyards, owned by a former football player turned wine maker. Like our earlier stops the wines at Terry Hoage (all named with football themes such as Hangtime and 5 Blocks) were very pricey, but good so my final purchase of the day was a "Skins" Grenache.

Back in San Jose now and wringing my liver out for a few days. If we had a bunch of extra cash on hand or won the lottery, I think Steve and I would spend next weekend looking at real estate in coastal SLO County. The only question would be beach, or inland where we could plant some vines, buy some goats, and start making wine and fine cheese. Cheers!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Shrug

I have decided to learn sign language. Why? Because I need to be able to interpret all of the subtle meanings contained in one gesture. The shrug. From time to time Weston morphs into a sullen teen. Typically he wakes up in a pretty loquacious mood and is able to communicate with us in monosyllabic grunts. Spending a day at school seems to rob him of all ability to speak however, and upon being asked any question his response is limited to a shrug of his shoulders. When he does decide to speak what does come out of his mouth would probably have been better off staying put. Apparently everyone he goes to school with, excepting perhaps his two best friends, is an idiot. School administrators, staff and teachers are equally gifted with the added benefit of not giving a crap about anything, at all, ever. Except maybe for the hair-phobic gym teacher who vomited in front of her students upon seeing a glob or hair in a cup next to the pool.

I think I understand though. I still remember just how much junior high/middle school sucked. It was a huge popularity game that could be won pretty much only by stomping on someone else's soul, beating up someone younger and smaller, or getting in trouble for something that could be considered cool. As a girl you could choose your identity from a small set of equally unappealing personae. There was the the űber-bitchy girl whose small circle of BFFs was determined by their loyalty when she felt the need to pick on someone less fortunate, usually cursed with braces and a poor fashion sense. Or you could be one of the stoners, the kids who had given up on academics in favor of smoking pot and using that cool droning voice made popular in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Or you could be the slutty girl who was rumored to have let a boy grope around under her shirt. Oh and don't forget the nerdy smart girl. You know, the one getting picked on by űber-bitch and her posse. I'm sure that choices were and still are just as appealing for boys, and that Weston is currently wrestling with the same angst, trying to figure out how to walk that fine line between tough and compliant.

Fortunately we are only a year away from high school during which some better sense seems to begin to prevail. Maybe then my son will have more to offer up than a shrug when I ask how his day was.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Can't Stay Quiet About Palin Any Longer

I have never intended this blog to be a forum for political discussion, but I think it’s time for me to break away from my typical topics. The blind support I have seen forthe McCain/Palin ticket which seems to stem mostly from the fact that the Vice Presidential candidate is in possession of a pair of ovaries has driven me to comment. I, like most women would be thrilled to have a female hold the highest elected office in our country. But can’t people see that by supporting the wrong woman, just because she is a woman, could set our cause back years, even decades? I don’t dislike Sarah Palin as a candidate because she is a Republican. In fact, I have always felt that if Barack Obama was not elected President I could actually be pretty comfortable with McCain. That is until he chose Palin as his running mate. I could support a woman if she were more like Condoleezza Rice and less like the lovechild of Martha Stewart and the Terminator. Following are several reasons why Sarah Palin scares me. Please note that much of the following is quoted directly from On The Issues. On The Issues is a website which provides a detailed history of each candidate's voting record as well as their public stances on issues. It can be accessed at http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

Sarah Palin On Abortion:

During the Alaska Governors debate in 2006 candidates were asked what they would do if their own daughters were raped and became pregnant.

Palin said she would support abortion only if the mother's life was in danger. When it came to her daughter, she said, "I would choose life."

Sarah Palin On Equal Rights for Same Sex Couples:

Ms. Palin said she supported Alaska's decision to amend its Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. But she used her first veto as governor to block a bill that would have prohibited the state from granting health benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. Ms. Palin said she vetoed the bill because it was unconstitutional, but raised the possibility of amending the state Constitution so the ban could pass muster.

Elected officials can't defy the court when it comes to how rights are applied, she said, but she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples. "I believe that honoring the family structure is that important," Palin said. She said she doesn't know if people choose to be gay.

On Education:

Earlier this year, she told the Anchorage Daily News that schools should not fear teaching creationism alongside evolution. "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information.... Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as a daughter of a science teacher."

On The Environment:

Governor Sarah Palin announced today the State of Alaska has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to overturn Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

This action follows written notice given more than 60 days ago, asking that the regulation listing the polar bear as threatened be withdrawn. "We believe that the Service's decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available," Governor Palin said.

The Service's analysis failed to adequately consider the polar bears' survival through prior warming periods, and its findings that the polar bear is threatened by sea-ice habitat loss are not warranted. The Service also failed to adequately consider the existing regulatory mechanisms which have resulted in a sustainable worldwide polar bear population that has more than doubled in number over the last 40 years to 20,000-25,000 bears.

Palin On Stem Cell Research:

Palin told ABC’s Charles Gibson that “we should not create human life, create an embryo and then destroy it for research, if there are other options out there.”

But now the McCain/Palin campaign now has a radio spot that enthusiastically supports stem cell research.

To see a full accounting of Sarah Palin’s voting record please take the time to visit http://www.issues2000.org/Sarah_Palin.htm and decide for yourself. Then vote. Conversely, if you aren't going to take the time to get educated on where this woman stands stay home on November 4th. Many of these issues pertain directly to you, as a woman, a mother, a daughter, and a citizen of this country. Please don't just vote your emotions, take time to figure out if, woman or not, she is qualified to represent all of us, and to lead this country in the event that McCain cannot. To paraphrase the candidates' favorite quote, just because it wears lipstick doesn't mean it isn't a pig.

Follow Up to Earth, Flat, Hook, Sharp

In an earlier post I posed the following question: Earth, flat, hook, sharp. Which does not belong and why? As promised I am posting a follow up which contains my own answer to the riddle which I now believe to be wrong.

My theory was that Earth didn't belong because flat, hook, and sharp are all words that could be used to described the appearance or shape of an object. Take a look at the comments that follow the original post to find what I believe to be the correct answer as provided by my sister Hilary.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Be Careful What You Don't Wish For

So all that crap I posted a couple of weeks ago about girls, and Weston, and not interested and blah, blah, blah? Total horse shit. I just found out yesterday that my son officially has a girlfriend and holy mother of pearl am I not happy about it. It’s not the fact that he HAS a girlfriend that has my panties all in a bundle, what is upsetting me is…. wait for it…. the girl he chose. Oh God people, listen to me. I sound like one of those overbearing, she’s not good enough for my little darling mothers. OK, deep breaths.

Girlfriend lives around the corner from us, and we’ve known her and her family since she was two. We are casually friendly with the parents, stopping to chat if we are walking the dogs. Weston is friends with the older brother as well, and from what we’ve seen, neither one of the kids should be given the freedom that the parents allow. I won’t laundry list their faults here, but suffice it to say, impressionable little Garrett has learned some pretty colorful language and undesirable behaviors from both of these older kids. On more that one occasion Garrett has said or done something that has left me open-jawed in shock (like referring to the police as “pigs”), and when I asked where he learned it, he has cited one or the other of the siblings as his source.

Last night at dinner I got my revenge though. Garrett doesn’t know about his older brother having a girlfriend. I figured I keep mum about that to save Weston a whole ration of teasing. From our dinner discussion Garrett caught enough information to realize that I had used Girlfriend’s name and the word “like” in the same sentence. “Mom,” Garrett said, “I don’t think Weston would ever actually “like” Girlfriend because she swears worse than her brother.” “I’m sure you’re right, Garrett. Weston has impeccable taste in girls and would never choose to have a girlfriend with a potty mouth.” I answered. It was awesome watching Weston squirm.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Pampered Pooch

I have said before that some of the best observations on the human condition can be made at the grocery store. This weekend's grocery shopping trip was no exception. I shop at Safeway, which although it has soul-crushingly poor customer service (more on that later), I continue to patronize because it is conveniently located, and carries most of the things that I need at an acceptable price.

On my shopping list this week were dog food, rawhide bones, and what we refer to as "crate-up treats." One need only rattle the Snausages bag and the dogs both dive for their crates in anticipation of clamping their jaws around the sausage treats. As I lingered in the Pet Needs aisle of Safeway, my eye was caught by a new refrigerated display featuring gourmet meats for the dog that just can't subsist on plain dry kibble. While not something that I personally intend to do, I congratulate those that will take the time and money to prepare so-called raw foods for their dog in order to maximize their nutrition. If you think about it, wild canids don't subsist on a diet of little dry nuggets of God-knows-what. They eat hunks of raw meat that they tear off of the bones of freshly killed mammals and birds. If you recreate that at home, more power to you.

What I don't understand is this:

In natural spearmint and lemongrass flavors! That's where, as a dog-owner you loose me. What dog, even those ultra-pampered rat-sized purse dogs, needs anything other than a clean bowl of city tap water to satisfy its thirst? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wild dogs aren't stopping at Starbucks to purchase and sip an expensive filtered water after their meal of caribou. Even the most spoiled pooch is happy to lap muddy water out of a curbside puddle or even your open toilet if it gets a dry mouth.

And while I'm on the subject of pet diets, does it strike you as a little odd that PETA wants people want to feed their dogs and cats vegetarian food? If you want to practice a vegan lifestyle, why not choose a naturally herbivorous animal like a canary or a hamster as a companion, rather that trying to impose your doctrine on your carnivorous pet. If you believe in avoiding cruelty to animals, maybe you should look into what malnutrition does to an animal.

And finally, on the subject of customer service. While I was at the checkout stand, the lackadaisical checkout clerk ran my Tide and my free range chicken broth over the scanner and found that they did not have prices encoded in the system. Being the enthusiastic employee he was, he turned to me and in an irritated tone of voice asked, "Do you know how much these cost?" I answered that I did not, thinking to myself that as an employee of this grocery store, isn't it YOUR job to know how much the items cost? By the time he has scanned the rest of my items, the bagger had placed all of my items in my cart. The checkout clerk turned to me again, looking more irritated, and asked, "Where did that stuff come from? I tried to scan the organic juice and the other stuff. Do you know where you got it?" Flustered, I scanned my mind for exactly which organic juice I had purchased. After feverishly rummaging through the bags in my cart, we were able to locate the Tide and broth (which he had mistaken for juice) and I directed the bagger to where, in the store at which both of these people are paid to work, I had found the items. A full five minutes later, the line of impatient people behind me getting longer all the while, the bagger strolled back with my items and their prices. This is only one of a long string of incidents at Safeway that have demonstrated that customer service is a very low priority at this store. And having the checkout clerks struggle each week to pronounce my name (Mrs..... Darken??? ThankyouforshoppingatSafewayhaveaniceday.) does nothing to change my mind.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How Many of Your Brand of Muffins Equal One Colon Blow?

OK I know I'm going a little overboard with the embedded video thing, but now that I figured out how to do it, it's just so much fun! With the exception of the last one, of course, which once embedded, somehow hijacked the entire contents of my post from the editing window so that I could not go back in and put in a little NSFW warning. Sorry 'bout that! I tried!

I dredged this video up this morning to show to Garrett after he casually strolled into the kitchen this morning and asked Steve to put a colon blow muffin in the toaster for him. As with all things outrageous that come out of my children's mouths (ie. Garrett singing Do Your Balls Hang Low in the shower yesterday morning) this is my fault, and up 'til this morning, Garrett had no idea what colon blow referred to. He just thought that was what the English muffins with all the extra fiber in them were called.

Colon Blow Classic SNL commercial.

Warning, may cause abdominal distention!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Earth, Flat, Hook, Sharp

Meredith's anthropology professor posed the following question:

Of the following choices, which does not belong: Earth, Flat, Hook, Sharp. Why?

I have no idea what the correct answer is or even if there is one. I will explain my own theory in a follow-up post. What's your answer?

Edited to Add: Formulate your own theory first before peeking at the comments!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Odd Things That End Up in Ears, Part II

Odd Things That End Up in Ears, Part II
In a classic case of you always find out more than you want when you Google for information, I found the following video on Oxygen while trying to figure out how to get rid of that troublesome waxy buildup that can accumulate in your ears.

The poor caller is clearly on the verge of breaking down in tears as this call progresses. You can tell she has spent at least 24 hours feeling a sense of horror similar to one you might experience upon getting caught snooping in a friend's medicine cabinet whist searching for something to rid yourself of her boyfriend's brand of condom which has mysteriously become embedded in your nose. And the way she upspeaks reveals she is probably of an age that prevents her from asking her mother for advice. "My boyfriend's really....... adventurous?"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The T.S. Elliot Equation

Without mentioning any names, someone I know is about to acquire a very large number of cats. This is a case of sever overuse of LOL in emails. Watch and learn:

Don't let this happen to you!

Who Most Deserves a Helping Hand?

What is the proper etiquette when donating to another person's cause, be it multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or breast cancer? If you are like me, you have several organizations that you donate to each year, be they environmental, medical, or even your local humane society. You may also get involved in your own fund raising efforts like Steve and the boys and I did this summer. You will probably be approached by at least one friend, acquaintance or relative who is trying to launch a similar fund raising effort. This can add up to a lot of money by the end of the year, tax write-off or not.

How do you decide which, if any of those fund raising efforts you will support? Do you support any and all requests for help for help raising money, or just donate to the causes that have personal meaning for you? I feel really strongly about finding a cure for cancer, so should I always support requests to help fight cancer? What about requests from people who are fundraising for a cancer cure, but that chose not to donate when Steve or I asked for help with the Livestrong event? Tit for tat seems pretty shallow when it's a worthy cause, but if you choose not to donate to others, what can you reasonably expect in return? What say you?

Sunday, September 07, 2008


My friend Amy wears a perfume that all of her friends love. It's called Michael and if you've spent much time around Amy, you will associate that perfume with her. She says she wears it because it covers the smell of the kitchen in which she spends all day working as a pastry chef, but whatever the reason, she just smells SO good.

This weekend, Steve and I went into Nordstrom with a $125 store credit burning a hole in our pocket. Steve (who is pretty much every woman's ideal mate) insisted that I find something to spend the store credit on. As we walked into the store, I saw a really nice men's shirt with a Michael Kors tag in the collar. "I know who Michael Kors is!" I said. "He makes the perfume that Amy wears that smells SOOO good!" Intrigued, Steve steered me to the perfume department so he could get a whiff of this elixir. The sales lady sprayed a little on the crease of my elbow and made up a small sample, encouraging me to wear it for a few hours to see how it reacted with my body chemistry. She also gave me a sample of a similar scent by Marc Jacobs. We left Nordstrom empty handed, and moved on to shop at a couple of other stores.

As we browsed the racks of The Gap, I remarked to Steve that I felt strange wearing Amy's signature scent. "I smell great and I love it, but I keep expecting to turn around and see Amy standing next to me!" Steve assured me that I smelled wonderful, and that surely Amy hadn't spent hours laboring over this particular perfume and that if I bought it and wore it, it couldn't be THAT big of a deal. "You don't understand." I protested., "If I bought this, everyone would say I was wearing Amy's perfume." In the end, we spent the Nordstrom credit on a pair of shoes to match an outfit I put together from the Gap and Banana Republic.

A couple hours later we got home and I opened the door to the office to say hi to the kids who were playing in there on their computers. "Weston" I said, 'do you like my perfume?" Offering an arm for him to smell. "Yeah. You smell like Amy." "See???" I shrieked at Steve. Then I marched over to Garrett. Again offering my arm, I asked, "Do you like my perfume?" Garrett sniffed. "Does it remind you of anyone?" Garrett answered, "It smells like Bailey!" Bailey is Amy's daughter. Clearly, Michael is spoken for. I think I'll go with the Marc Jacobs.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


When you get a new puppy, one of the things you worry the most about (along with puddles and piles on your floor) is your valued posessions getting chewed up. As small puppies, Bo and Luke both got ahold of things they shouldn't have, but by the time we got Luke, I got savvy to the need to have rawhide bones around at all times. It has become part of my daily dog routine to give the dogs each a rawhide strip to chew on.

Both of the dogs get pretty compulsive, once handed a bone. From that moment on, their aim in life is to guarantee that not a crumb of their bone gets down the other dog's throat, and to that end, they must get said bone down their own gullet post hast. Luke in particular is a bone gobbler, which led to a very messy barfing incident last week that I detailed in the following tweet:

Luke just barfed up a half-gallon pile of warm foamy, partially digested rawhide which reeked of sour pork product. Yargh!!!!

Nice, hmm? That particular incident is the closest I have been to coming emotionally unhinged by a mess made by any member of my family, human or canine. Since then I have become a bit more cautious about freely handing out rawhides to Luke and try to limit him to small pieces.

This morning, I gave each dog a strip of rawhide, and Luke grabbed the smaller of the two that fell out of the bag. Five minutes later there was not a trace of it left, and Bo, was still happily ensconced on the floor of the great room, gnawing at his. Luke trundled off to find Bo in his chewing spot, and proceeded to sit about a foot from his nose alertly watching as Bo masticated the bit of dried pig. Occasionally Luke would inch forward and Bo would emit a low warning rumble from deep in his chest. I got distracted with my usual Saturday morning load of laundry, but this is what I found about 15 minutes later:

Luke is the picture of resignation and sadness, while Bo studiously ignores him, savoring his bone all the more because he knows how much Luke wants it. Later while I was writing this, and Luke had wandered off to lie at my feet, and Bo actually came in to the office and positioned himself with the bone so that he was inches from Luke's face. If they were any more like real children I'd be yelling at Luke for teasing, and at Bo for punching his little brother.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Various Meanderings of My Mind

To the Doctor Today

Weston has been complaining for a while that he feels as though he has something lodged in his throat that makes it uncomfortable to breath. I suggested that maybe it had something to do with his larynx changing size. Over the summer his voice went from slightly gravelly to a baritone that I can no longer distinguish from Steve's when I am a couple of rooms away. He looked alarmed at my suggestion, complaining that if his voice gets any deeper, he'll sound like Shaq. To rule out the possibility that he has been afflicted with something more sinister that laryngioshaqolitis, I took him to the doctor today. Turns out it may be caused by either acid reflux or post nasal drip. Either one sounds equally unappealing and involves the taking of medications for a month.

Should You Dress Your Age?

So I keep seeing this lady at Weston's school who is about 5'7" and around 130 lbs. with a very dark tan, heavily bleached blond hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, big boobs, body skimming shirt/job-bra, and some sort of athletic-looking shorts. The way I describe her she sounds similar to Pamela Anderson, and she does. Like Pammy, she looks like she is clutching desperately to her lost youth. She has a very nice, lean, fit body and an attractive face, but all you see is her mutton dressed as lamb. Now in the interest of practicing what I preach, I'm not going to start crabbing about how women of a certain age should hang up their assets and quit trying to look sexy. That would not be using my blog to promote women. Now would it? But maybe there comes a time when dressing like your daughter only points out to the world how much better that youthful style looks on her. I'm not for rushing out to buy calf tans, and polyester the minute you hit 50. If you have the body, flaunt it. But how about flaunting it Helen Mirren style rather than the way Cher does it? Or better yet, the way Cher did it back in 1998?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yin and Yang

We just got Weston and Garrett's test scores in the mail and their scores looked like mirror images of each other. Overall they both scored in the proficient to advanced area, but Weston does really well in Language Arts but not as well in math. Garrett struggles a bit with Language Arts and great in math. Genetics is a funny thing. Steve is a math whiz but doesn't like to write. (He won't agree with me, but I think he writes pretty well.) Faced with a math problem, I break out in a flop sweat, but I love to write. It's a good thing that neither one of us is an ax-murderer because it seems at least one of the kids would be firing up the blade sharpener in a year or two.