Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bake me a cake

Craving the sugar here, which I guess is what happens when you reintroduce JAM to your diet. More! More! More! I use little bits of sugar here and there in recipes but that jam, woo, boy.

I'm about to make a cranberry smoothie to use up the cranberry sauce I made that wasn't sweet enough so didn't get eaten up fast enough and is fast approaching the line of DOOM which food may not cross. This fah, no fahthah!

I have wicked cute dog and cat show pictures for you, including the most splendid action shot where the dog is moving like Neo in The Matrix to avoid a swiping cat paw. It might be the single best picture I've ever taken, for sheer awesomeness. The dog is actually standing on his back paws and blurred in motion, eyes closed. YAY!
Where is my smoothie? As soon as I talk about it, I feel sure it exists. And then it feels like time has reversed because there's the cranberry sauce still in its jar. Oh so complicated being me!

The new book is completely glorious and filling me with joy joy joy, doing what a book is supposed to do, to wit:

--obsess me all hours of day and night
--grow new ideas out of itself when I'm not looking
--invent new characters seemingly without my intervention
--get all sci-fi-y without any need for me to sit there going, "Hmm, now what would be cool?"
--pester me to write it, basically in the manner of the puppy

The puppy pictures from today are so very Corgi-fied! He has Corgi front legs, for sure. And back ones, I'd guess--I mean, don't they come in sets of four? But his front legs are exactly Corgi legs, thick and strong and in 1st position like a stocky, furry ballerina.

I might have to bake that oatmeal cake. It's practically a granola bar! No? Okay. But, so good! Surely there's some esoteric holiday I can pin it on! First of August? Anything? Let's see, beginning of Ramadan and a Civic Holiday in Canada. There you go!

I feel like all the Honda Civics are going to go lie on the beach and rub sunscreen on their roofs.

Oh, that's the other two things a book is supposed to do, to wit again:

--wake up my previously zombified (bored to death) brains
--make me really really super extra double happy with happiness on top

Today I am going to work hard on sewing things for the house, like, oh, the curtains that have been held up with straight pins--and in one case, an earring--since I moved in two years ago. Ack, argh! Must sew the curtains. The long blue curtains need hems. They've been hemmed with straight pins for about a year and a half. See, that's just not okay. The dog beds need polarfleece covers made from my piles of blanket-sized polarfleece remnants from the Woolrich outlet, owned LO these many years now. The piece of fabric over the bedroom door needs to be trimmed and hemmed. Again, been there two years. What else? That'll do for now.

And then they all need to get washed. Crivens! Feeling the urge for, um, summer cleaning, I guess. Though it's distressing how dirty the house is already when it was absolutely pristine on Wednesday. How did it happen? How? How?

I made purple coleslaw and ate it up, yum! And purple potato salad is next up to make. After that smoothie. Boy oh boy, I really want that smoothie now. And this cup of tea. YUM. And I might switch the chairs so that the cat sleeps in the one that hurts my back and I can use the comfortable one again, unmauled by dogs. Sitting on the couch and trying to write is not working so well. He crawls all over me and steps on the keyboard and it's just a matter of time (not long, even) before he unplugs the thing and loses my work, since the battery died.

Must buy new battery. They cost a hundred dollars! Most of the things I need around here cost $5 or $20. Sometimes I'll get the $5 ones but I almost never get the $20 ones, because there are about forty of them lined up and I can't get them all, so which ones? See. Tricky! And things are going to be tight for another two weeks, because of a prescription, though wasn't there some funky deal where they had some mysterious non-existent discount card on file for me? Maybe it won't cost as much as I think. But with gas and no doubt some veg and fruit and possibly yogurt required, yeah, it'll be tight.

Oh! This is weird. I got gas last Monday, but still have half a tank. Normally a week takes a whole tank, now that I run home every lunch time. And okay I didn't go to work on Wednesday and got that gas halfway through Monday, but that's still not enough to make it last twice as long. That's 7.5 round trips instead of 10.

I did get the middle grade kind instead of the cheapest kind, in some kind of fugue state I can't explain. Is that why? Does higher octane improve mileage that much? Is it actually cheaper to buy more expensive gas? Fascinating! Car is running better, too. Which I think proves it, or something.

Time to switch the laundry, find the putty knife, scrape petrified cat vomit off the basement floor (oh YAY) and then make that smoothie that I've been looking for all this time. Or possibly have the smoothie first, once I put it like that. Heh.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Boing boing boing

Dog is boinging around the house, playing with his stuffed golden puppy, in default of the cat, who is in hiding. And who can blame him? Getting gnawed on all the time is exhausting. Cat smacks dog's nose, I smack dog's nose, yet dog continues to gnaw on us.

I have the compulsion to say, "Gnarr, gnarr, gnarr," whenever he does that. Except you pronounce the g. Like gnarr is the sound of gnawing, where you also pronounce the g.

I have a new secret weapon against the work oppression feelings. Want to know what it is? A tiny blue notebook like those black speckledy composition notebooks. I don't even have to write anything in it! It just sits on my desk and reminds me that I can turn ANYTHING into writing. Hurray! It's true, anything, no matter how awful.

Tiny blue notebook says: you can always ramp up the stress and chaos levels of any situation (in a book) by adding in lots of dogpiled pressures on your poor protagonists.
Tiny blue notebook is just the best tool ever. I wonder if I'll ever write things in it? I strongly suspect I will.

Guess what, my jam came out very solid indeed! N diagnosed too much sugar and cooking too long. I concur! (Tiny blue notebook says...yeah!)

I truly adore N. She's all crankypants and says exactly what she thinks, or if she doesn't say it, you know anyway because of how she looks.

Like one day when someone was telling us a story about something cool and funny that *I* had done and said, but attributing it to someone else, N and I just looked at each other and kind of smiled, because we both knew. AWESOME.

My jam, though. It's good! Excellent flavor. But oh holy sticky-haloed Lords of Kobol, so very very very very sweet! And also solid such that you can turn the jar upside down and hold it there and then shake it and turn it every way you can think of and then shake it again and it WON'T MOVE. Hahahahahahahahaha!

I learned how to de-tannin-ize acorns so you can eat them. I've been wanting to know! Basically you dry them then shell them then boil some water and turn it off and instantly dump them in, then let them sit 1/2 hour while you boil another pot, and do the same thing.  And then you do it again if they still need it.

The word is, white oak acorns are much better than red oak, which are all tannin-y and bitterer. So now I'm going around staring at all the trees in a manner they would find disconcerting if they were not trees. So far, tons of red oaks, including the one right outside the house that makes the deck all shady, but no white oaks at all.

Stay, do they even grow here? Ah! In fact, no, the range ends just south of here. Drat! Well, I won't stop looking, anyway. White oaks could be like the mountain lions.

Speaking of which, puppy and I were out in the yard at twilight and something large and tan across the road made some very odd sounds and bounded away. It was probably a deer. Or quite possibly a bobcat, which we KNOW live right around here. Weird sounds, though. Do deer make noises? Other than crash crash crash through the underbrush?

Yes! Deer will snort, wheeze, bleat, grunt, and growl. Well that explains it. Probably a couple of deer.

Every day lately--because they're nesting--I see bald eagles and ospreys. And most days I see the turkey flock of hens and babies walking up the side of the road. EXCELLENT volucri lately. I see deer maybe one out of seven days, but see their tracks every day.

By the way, the mountain lion (or whatever) tracks are still visible in the dirt, even after all that rain, though the definition is gone. But you can see stride length and all that. Awesome! I remain scarily convinced that there's a not too old (but more than a year) mountain lioness about, based on the stride length and depth of the pawprints.

Did I tell you what the hunting and fishing store guy said when I went to get bear spray? Too expensive, by the way, costs $45! No thanks! Anyway he said I didn't need it because bears would just run away and a mountain lion would eat me before I knew what was happening. Okay! Then he talked me out of getting more shotgun shells because I don't actually hunt. But he did allow me to buy a highly discounted shotgun cleaning kit with the crucial oil I needed, since the kit itself was less than a regular bottle of the oil.

I feel bad that the puppy gets smacks from everyone around him, but then again he keeps on biting and biting and biting everyone around him, so what else can we do? STOPPIT. Sheesh! Plus from me it's a tap. That's what the monks who wrote the puppy book say to do. A tap is a signifier of a smack without being a real smack. But you know, I feel bad picking peas off the pea vines so of course I feel like I smacked him when I really just tapped him.

A tap on the nose would be startling, to be sure. I would stop biting someone in those circumstances.

This has taken me something like two and a half hours to write because SOMEONE keeps being a BANANA and making it IMPOSSIBLE to do anything for more than TWO SECONDS. Gaaaaah! But I also ate dinner in there, which involved lots of shoving the dog off my popcorn bowl. Sometimes dogs have these days where they're super extra hyper crazypants go go go. Hey dog! CHILL THE HECK OUT!

Oof!

Off! Hurray!

Guess what? Nine days is too many days to work without a break! That is nearly ten! I know!

It's also not necessary. I really didn't need to be there today. So I asked if I could not, and boss said yes, so there I'm not. Awesome!

Anyway, today, woohoo!

They're widening the power line corridor that's a block or so away, if we had blocks. Maybe two blocks away. I saw them cutting down a huge wide swath of trees and thought they were putting in a road, so walked Mr. Puppy up there yesterday and asked. Nope, just expanding, or something.

I wasn't quite clear whether they were just expanding the treeless zone, or were going to build new pylons, or what. I would guess new pylons at some point, right? Otherwise, why?

It could mean an excellent new dog-walking zone for me once it grows over a bit. Right now it's a world of mud and shredded tree branches and things.

Hi! I have one of those killer day-off headaches. Woe! And alarming things have happened, like accidentally knocking a superball into the dryer vent place, where you pull the screen out to clean the lint off, know what I mean? I turned the dryer on and it went thumpity thump and then seemed fine. So presumably it fell through to the bottom or something like that. Eep!

Dog and cat are playing together nonstop these days. Wrestle, chase, yelp, yowl! They keep biting each other on the neck and wrestling like a pair of dogs or pair of cats. But they are one of each! It's tremendously awesome and makes me squeal with joy. Yelp, yowl, squeal!

They also did this fabulous thing: I was sitting on the couch and Gawain the Dog came and laid next to me with his front half on my leg, then Siegfried the Cat came and did the same thing on the other side. So they were lying there on my legs the same way, all peaceful and content and together. AWESOME. And then Gawain leaned over and licked the kitty's ear just the way kitties like it, so Sieg sort of leaned into it and looked blissed out.

I LOVE that these two are getting along so very well! I was hoping for detente at best, but I got best buddies who play together! HURRAY!!! I never imagined it would go so well.

So Jane had a writing sprint today and I got to join in for once, hurray! I was at my desktop computer so I just opened up the folder of ideas and grabbed the one that grabbed me first. It was this Z Company thing about some lower decks space marine kind of people who have no idea what missions they're being sent on or what's going on in their falling Empire, but are out to scam their way to money and fun and whatever they can get. Their leader is a beautiful loser (which is a term I credit to James Marsters from a commentary I heard once, where he called Spike that, but who knows where he got it?) with severe physical injury that he's hiding so he doesn't get remanded to a border outpost to die. His friends help hide it. And he masterminds their shenanigans.

As usual in my sci-fi novels there's a big social change going on that our characters aren't that interested in, but get sucked into, and then they turn out to drive it where it's going. You know, you think it's about surviving high school but in the end you have to save the world.

Here's what my ideas file looks like: lots of documents with a couple of sentences each, or as much as a couple of pages of plans and character sketches and story outlines.

I know perfectly well I have no memory whatsoever, so I keep everything organized and labeled that way. It's completely awesome to go look in that file and find all these excellent ideas that just haven't come up to bat yet. So today when sprint time came and I was actually able to play, I looked over the titles of the documents and pulled that one. So that's the book I'm writing now.

I wrote myself into a corner on the Apollo book. I think I'm actually going to back up and just delete everything after a certain point. Like ripping out your knitting. I have to figure out what point and then just rrrrrrrrrip.

Meanwhile, today is make strawberry jam and vacuum the dirty floor day. Possibly should vacuum first.

I took half a vicodin for the blistering headache. I don't understand the headache. I've had more caffeine in tea than I usually get in coffee at work. I didn't get to sleep late much, as puppy kept getting me up, though I kept putting us both back to bed after we went out. I think we finally got up at 9:00 or so.

Oh, he's such a good boy. He's turning out amazingly well. He's all affectionate and good, though not as obedient as he needs to become. And so big! And so very, er, capable! For instance, I came back to my desk and discovered he was sitting on my desk chair. He had climbed up. Whoops! Of course instead of shooing him down, I took a picture, but by then he'd figured out he could get on my desk from the chair. Ack! No one is safe!

Must remember to keep chair pushed in. Aiiieeee! Look out, kitty chow!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oh so worky

Working all weekend is full of work! And no weekend! That's seven days straight and I'm going in tomorrow, too, though I'm really hoping to get caught up enough that I can skip a day this week and not have to wait for Friday. Ooooooof. So very tired! Weekends you have to start at 7 instead of 8, which causes increased tiredosity. OH and there was the horrible heat, which exhausts a person, and the not sleeping well because of the heat, ditto.

Hee! I mistyped "ditty." Awesome!

I heard a radio guy on NPR say "insipid" when he meant "insidious" the other day. Madness! Those words are not even remotely close in meaning! The only way to use the wrong one is not to be sure what either of them means. Wow!

I keep having very interesting conversations about the negativity and high-stress drama that some people love to get into. They love it! And they think anyone who's not upset or involved is not taking it seriously, or doesn't care, or whatever. They have to pull everyone into their fit of cows. Am having cow! You must also have a cow!

Anyway the conversations are enlightening and very helpful for, um, writing. Yeah! Writing! At least, I hope so.

We went up to Borders after work to see what's left on the shelves. A lot, but some notable areas were pretty cleaned out, for instance YA and children's lit had been seriously decimated. Oddly enough, the self-help books were doing fine.
I wonder what that says? People who look for self-improvement do not take advantage of sales? People who need that sort of help aren't practical about saving money? I'm trying to draw some kind of conclusion but it's sort of like the XKCD that concluded that cancer causes cell phones. (As cancer rates rose, cell phone usage rose similarly but at a slight delay, therefore cancer causes cell phones. Awesome!)

I got some BOOKS. Yay!

Tonight dog and cat and I are snuggling up a storm, so fabulous! It's all because I got rid of the heinously uncomfortable brassiere after getting home. It's...heat and losing weight and I don't know what other variables, but the upshot is that those suckers don't fit right anymore and therefore cause major pain. So then I was all, Phew! Comfort! And laid back on the couch with the laptop propped against my legs. And then puppy came and crawled all over me and then laid down on my chest, chewing a rawhide, and then he moved so he was next to my head with his front half on my shoulder and chest, and the kitty came and laid across my midsection and got petted exceedingly, with the puppy leaning against him companionably.

You know that I LOVE that SO MUCH! That's my dream come true, all three of us snuggling together, so adding in my laptop was kind of hilarious, like, "How about a cherry and whipped cream on top of that, huh?"

We're still working on the whole no biting thing. I can tell the whole time he's like, "But I WAAAANNNAAAAA" even though he totally knows better. Self-control is not the first skill a puppy develops! It's true.

We have to go water the pumpkins, which sounds like some kind of weird metaphor but just means: water the pumpkins. Dry out there! There are actual peas on the pea plants, oh boy! I know it seems like the world's biggest miracle to me every year, but seriously: SO COOL. I can probably pick and eat some today. And should!

The exhaustification might mean going to bed super early tonight, though. Like, is now too soon? How early is too early? I don't want to be up at 3 but I am just beyond all sense with the tiredness.

After pumpkin watering and feeble attempts to find dinner (have eaten one date so far: insufficient) I'm going to read one of my exciting new books. Oh boy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Write-off?

I feel like today is kind of a write-off, but then I think: what does that mean, I don't have to pay taxes on it? Do you pay taxes on your days? What is your day tax? I think it's cooking and cleaning and upkeep, honestly. The stuff you don't want to do.

I had to go to the store to get items to make the cold lentil salad: cucumber, tomato, red onion, feta, lemons, black olives cured in oil. I only forgot the lemons. Why? Because I was in a different store, the one near work that I really dislike usually, but I didn't want to run into crazy screaming lady again. And who did I see in the produce aisle? No! Not her. One of my beloved old co-workers!

Awwwwwww. He looked great, actually. I instantly remembered why I liked him so much. He was with his girlfriend and didn't see me and I didn't want to be a dose of negativity or reminder of his old job and all that, so I didn't say hi.

But I forgot the lemons. Chef told me what to put in this and lemons are key.

Actually it was fascinating to ask the two chefs what they would put in cold lentil salad.

Chef A said, "I wouldn't eat that if it was the last food on earth. I'd rather die."

Chef B said, "Ooh, [famous chef he knows that I've never heard of] makes an amazing cold lentil salad. I remember I really liked it when I had it. It had...." And then he gave me a list of ingredients.

That's the difference between those two. One loves what he does and is interested in it and the other one hates everything to do with cooking.

It's hideously hot and humid and horribly buggy out. I looked down to see six or eight chiggers crawling up my ankles and kind of freaked out. My puppy is being bitey and scratching me and behaving very badly all around. I'm not as patient as I would be if I were not boiling hot and itchy and miserable. It's too hot to eat. Well, I had watermelon. I got watermelon but not lemons. Helpful!
I should make the cold lentil salad anyway and use the limes that are in the fridge, but guess what? They are not interchangeable! Not at all!

I'm sitting on the floor in front of the fan. Everything is very stiff and sore today, no idea why. I haven't walked more or eaten anything unwise. My ankles especially don't want me to put any weight on the joints. What exactly is up with that?

The world is full of things I don't understand today. But that's okay! Today will end! And tomorrow will also be awful and then tomorrow will end! And then it'll be the nice weekend, which will be awesome even if I'm working! I should be able to take Monday off, super cool! Maybe it'll be a beautiful day. I can mow the grass and cook food and otherwise pay my taxes so that it is not a write-off! Yes!

I think it might pour but then again it might not. Or maybe it is already. Guess which? I can't!

Puppy just keeps on mauling and biting me and I keep yelling no and then showing him the right thing to do and praising him. He just smacked me in the eye with his paw and scratched me under my eye, though. He's behaving so badly I might crate him just to stop him from having to be in trouble every other second. I don't think anything special is going on, just testing behavior.

Oh! Another tooth just came out. That's why he's being so bitey and bad! He's teething, isn't he? Awwww. Maybe ice cubes really were the perfect thing to give him, huh?

If you give a puppy a bowl of ice cubes...

If you give a puppy a bowl of ice cubes, he will:

lick them
chew on them
get cooled down
put them on the couch cushions
chase them around the floor like hockey pucks
take them all out of the bowl one after another
hide them in safe places around the house
see if the kitty wants one
put them on the human's bare legs and feet to hear her squeal
wonder where they went when they melt
drink up the remaining puddles, good boy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fascinating interaction, horrible at the time

I got screamed at by a crazy person today.

Except she wasn't crazy, but she sure seemed like it at the time because the way she was acting was so far out of any reasonable behavioral realm.

This is what happened.

I went to the store and decided to get fruit to make jam. The strawberries looked reasonably priced (that's how you decide what to make jam out of) but this mom was in front of the rest of the berries and her awkward teenaged daughter was in front of the strawberries. The mom was shopping but the daughter was just gawking at me.

I tried to dodge left, right, left around the girl, but she didn't move. Like, you know how if someone wants to get to the place where you are in the store, you move and you flutter apologetically? She just stared at me agog.

So I said, "I need to buy some strawberries." This is where it gets weird.

The girl kind of wigged out and ducked out of the way, upset. And the mom said, "What did she say to you?" I couldn't hear what the girl said but it sure wasn't, "I need to buy some strawberries." I think it was more like, "She told me to move."

So the mom said, "Did she say excuse me?" And the girl said no. And so the mom said, very loudly, without looking at me, "Some people are just RUDE."

This is where I should have walked away. But you can already tell I didn't. Because I said, "Yes, some people really are just rude," because she was being appallingly rude, and I hadn't been. And then she started yelling all this stuff in my direction without making eye contact, all this weird stuff about how she could tell who the adult was here (what?) and on and on, such that people were looking.

They walked away while hollering. I picked out some strawberries.

Then I spent the next forty-five minutes trying to figure out why she upset me so much. Like, I was shaking. And I explained it all at length to Gawain the puppy during our walk. He paid no attention at all! Blah blah blah is what he heard. But I did figure out that the things that upset me the most are when people say things to or about me that are completely not true at all. Like that I was rude, when I wasn't.

Isn't that odd? Contrary to fact statements, I get all outraged. I must be devoted to the pursuit of truth! Which is sort of a strange thing to say about someone who writes fiction. Though fiction is true, it's jut not fact.

It really agitates me when people say things to or about me that aren't true, though, yep. It happened at work last week.

It kind of made me crazy. Much like today's weird thing.

What kind of person does that?

With the crazy lady in the store, I think there were two things going on. One, I think her daughter was not quite right. That would make her extra defensive and extra protective. I suspect it based on how the girl acted and how the mom completely over-reacted. Two, I think the girl told her I said things I didn't, which would also make her completely over-react.

And then I started thinking about a pair like that, where one constantly mis-reports what others are doing. What a weird and twisted relationship that would be. Like imagine a couple where one comes home each day and tells the other all the hostile and awful things that other people said and did. How long before the other would twig that none of that was really true? Or that the situation reflected paranoia or confusion much more than the terribly hostile world it seemed to reflect at first?

Interesting thought. What if that mom thinks everyone is terribly hostile and mean to her not-quite-right daughter all the time, because the daughter doesn't understand things properly and reports what she feels like people are saying, instead of what they *are* saying? Like, when I said, "I need to buy some strawberries," the translation of that certainly implied a request that she move.

Fascinating, anyway. And upsetting to have a stranger start shouting that you're rude in the produce section. I always try to figure out what's behind people's behavior when I can't make any sense of it. Well, obviously, how else would you cope with it? Just write it off as unfathomable?

The other terribly odd thing that happened today was this sequence of events: sudden blinding headache around 11 a.m., followed by motor control problems, slurring of speech, aphasia, vertigo, and then everything going away completely by 1:30 p.m. What's up with that?

The aphasia was awesome. You know how I love messed up language stuff. And I have to admit it's been kind of problematic lately, where I'll just stall out two or three words into a sentence until I can come up with the rest of the words. It makes people uncomfortable.

But this! I was home over lunch to walk the puppy. I was out in the yard with Gawain and he picked up a feather, one that I've actually taken away from him two or three times (cough, cough). Except this time I said, "No, no deer flowers!" And then I was completely puzzled and tried to correct it, and said: "Deer feathers. Dog flowers. Bird feathers."

And then I got alarmed.

Deer flowers? What the what?

It makes me think of a pegasus, though that would be horse feathers, and not deer flowers. Seriously, deer flowers?

Weird. And also so very very funny. I was telling little baby K at work about it and we both started laughing so hard we were crying, which is awesome. I just adore her. And many people. Actually since my mom was here and asked me what was upsetting me and I said, "The awful people! X, Y, and Z!" and then I realized how many AWESOME people there are, it's been infinitely better. The old focus on the positive thing! It works! madness!

So now I'm worried my strawberries and hence my jam will be tainted by the screaming of paranoid crazy mom of not-quite-right daughter. I mean, I'm horribly associative. Will I be able to eat any of it without thinking of that? I don't know.

Mostly I think about Michelle Shocked's song about strawberry jam and about my friend Jamie coming into the co-op kitchen when I was making a giant vat of strawberry jam and saying the lines from the song back and forth, except then he found out I'd never heard it and he ran and got the cd and played it for me and it was TOTALLY EERIE because I'd said my lines exactly without any idea what they were. Isn't that freaky?

I made no-bake cookies tonight and cooked a giant vat of lentils to make cold lentil salad, except I forgot all of the ingredients because of screaming lady in the produce section. I needed feta, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber. And I'd soaked the lentils overnight, which you don't even have to do, and so I had to cook them.

Also, you know how much I needed? Like a cup or two. Guess how much of the bag of lentils I cooked? You know. ALL OF IT. I'm going to be making other lentil-based foods tomorrow, boy howdy.

I got to pet the kitty lying on my lap this evening for a long time, with Gawain nearby chewing on a brush. It's one of those indestructible Goody brushes. The part I loved was when Gawain reached over and gently chewed on the kitty's ear, and the kitty did not mind at all. Awwwww. I love when those two snuggle or hang out without claws and teeth and growls and barks. Awesome!

I have to try the no-bake cookies once they get cool. They sort of...congeal? On waxed paper. I hope they turn solid. I've never even had one before to my knowledge. I absolutely have to develop a non-chocolate and less sweet version, or morph the whole thing into some sort of chewy breakfast bar. It's basically caramel fudge with oats in it, which sounds disgusting but it's good. I think I can do it, don't you? Yummy! Like what if I used peanut butter? I know!

I have to work all weekend, and an hour earlier than normal.

Having to be at work at 7 on Saturday and Sunday is going to be really, really hard. So I have to cook food in advance and I've been trying to get other stuff like laundry and yard work done in a rolling kind of way. Tomorrow's going to be in the 90s with thunderstorms though, so I don't expect to accomplish much.

Today I took a book outside with the puppers, along with my new redneck fave, the electrified tennis racket for killing bugs that are flying around your head and trying to bite you. I use it ALL THE TIME. I've killed so many deer flies, I can't even tell you--dozens the first day, easily. The population has declined since then, thank goodness. So I was out there hanging out with Mr. Puppy so that he could be out there for longer than a rushed and hustled walk for dogly necessities.

I realized we hurry like crazy because of the biting flies, but then I solved that, but then I thought: I'd stay out longer if I had a book. So yes, that was me sitting on the porch steps and reading a library book while puppy skirmished at the end of his leash and I held the bug zapper at the ready. Though I realize it looked kind of odd.

I don't know what to think about the brainstorm with the aphasia. It's definitely the same thing that's been hitting me since the fall of 2009, though. It's exactly like that, with the staggery walk and the feeling that a storm is actually going on in my brain. But it got over much quicker today. I'm wondering--did I mention this?--whether it's that thing called M.E. that I can never remember the full name of, which is sort of perfect. I think that comes with brainstorms, along with bad breathing and hands that mysteriously hurt and won't work.

I mean, it's probably not a teensy stroke or anything. Just to name the most obvious other possibility. My grandmother used to get those transient ones and they were just like that, though I think afterward she had no idea what had just gone on. Whereas I remember it all like a horrible nightmare.

Which I expect I'll have some of tonight, after that traumatic strawberry buying episode, goodness. Truly. I probably will. I don't process major hostility well AT ALL. It's like if someone ran up to you and beat you with a stick. You wouldn't just shake it off. Well, it seems to cause deep earthquakes, is all I'm saying.

Off to bed to see! Woohoo? Sleep sounds wonderful, anyway. Mmm, sleep.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

News flash

I'm not very patient with barking dogs! Nor misbehaving dogs. Nor household drudgery. Nor human fallibility, including (especially) my own.

Oh what an unappealing set of traits. Especially all at once. Ack!

Here's a skill I'd like a ton more of: the ability to shove unpleasant or annoying things to the back of my mind, or out of it completely, come to think of it, and focus on the wonderful things I'd like to be thinking about. HOW DO YOU DO THAT? I need that.

Oooooh, I killed so many deer flies today, and I don't even feel bad about the wholesale slaughter because there were more and more and more. In fact you could stand in my yard and kill deer flies without a pause all day long. I think they just keep on coming.

I wish I had one of those things outside, going all the time. That weird toasty fried fly smell isn't my favorite, nor the extremely loud SNAP, nor the wholesale slaughter thing, come to think of it, but I sure do like having a way to strike back at those monsters instead of just waving a branch at them like Australopithecus.

I think the mower really scares the dog. He gets very scared and freaked out and this time peed on the floor of the garage, which actually I think he did last time, too. I might have to crate him while I mow, on the theory that it makes him feel safe and secure. And maybe shut the doors and windows of the room he's in. I don't know, will that help? Or will he feel even more isolated and scared?

It's a tricky one to solve because of course I'm not with him while it's going on, but I'm sort of nearby. Actually my mom said that he went berserk when I even went out of sight. Anxiety dog! I'm typing one-handed because he's nestled on my lap and in need of comfort. Aw, the dog!

Hey, guess what? I overcame my severe reluctance to make a trip into town on the weekend and went! Yes! I got more dog beds for couch cushions since the previous ones got co-opted back into dog beds. I got the bug zapper tennis racket things. Laundry detergent, puppy pee pads. Mason jars. A tank of gas. Returned my library books that are due soon. Got yogurt, bananas, olive oil, etc. My prosaic treasures!

I'm thrilled to be back at subsistence level again, that's all. Being below is manageable for me because I'm a food hoarder and also can live cheaper than you'd think was even possible, because I eat things like, er, barley. But it's not comfortable and certainly not sustainable.

The mason jars are quart ones so I can put the grains into those and get my pints back and make jam and put it in them. Also soup. Indeed!

Hey, did you know Torchwood Miracle Day is NOT available on iTunes? Well how the heck am I supposed to see it, then? I checked how much Starz is and it's $12.99 a month. It's on Starz, right? But I've already missed one or two episodes so that's impractical. Jeez! Do I have to wait for the dvd?

Humph. That sucks.

I think I should hit the showers and take pre-emptive pain meds and then consider going straight to bed, though perhaps a dinner food would be in order somewhere along the line. Also I need to make/plan lunch for tomorrow.

Oh! World Cup! Did you see it? It was, in sports parlance, USA's game to lose, and they lost it by making some really terrible and amateurish mistakes. The goalkeeper with the world's best name, Hope Solo, screwed up all kinds of ways. The team missed a bunch of penalty kicks, which if you know soccer it's just understood that you MAKE those. It's assumed that you'll make them. It's hard not to make them, you're at such an advantage over the goalkeeper. So Japan was really good and so was the USA but the USA made a bunch of embarrassing mistakes and totally lost the game for themselves.

Oh so very sad. But awesome for Japan. You can't help being happy for them. They were so good all through the tournament. If you have to lose to someone in the final, that was a great team to lose to. Not like, say, Germany, ack. So yay, Japan!

So much to love about the whole World Cup. All the crazy fans who were devoted to various players on the USA team--that's new, did you know that? And so many men at the games, that's new too. In 1999 it was practically all women and girls at the final. Even when I went in 2003 the US fans at least were predominantly female, though interestingly, fans for other countries seemed pretty evenly mixed. So that's great to see.

Didi and I sometimes talk about whether our country is more racist or sexist. We both agree it's more sexist, but it's even more classist than either one.

That's a discussion that could go on all day, but I have a shower to get into so it'll have to wait.

Oh right, things to love about World Cup! Team camaraderie, team play, terrific athleticism, incredible devotion to excellence, national anthems, fans from one country cheering for another country, that awesome karmic schadenfreude when someone behaves badly and then loses the game, face-painting, waving flags, the huge dramas on the field of course, and that giant feeling of longing for awesomeness that feels like a balloon is expanding in my chest. Do you know that feeling? That's the thing I love the most about soccer, that incredible drive and glow and craving for awesomeness that flings me out of my chair and makes me want to run so fast and write so well and fly and fly and fly. Yes! It's the same feeling I had for Battlestar, which sounds funny but is absolutely true. That enormous glory.

Get it wherever you can, that's what I say. I don't know what you call it, glory or life force or joy or inspiration or what, but it's the BEST THING EVER and I'm completely addicted and want MORE MORE MORE. It's why there's a poster of Mia Hamm in my living room. Go go go!

I try to remember that not everyone gets that from sports, but then I'm also sort of an evangelist for whatever sport does it for you, because I think you should get it from wherever you can, dogs or planes or excellent tv or books or the sky or kids or wherever. I think we NEED it. And I don't know why most sports don't do it for me but international soccer does, but then again, who cares why? Just get it! Get more! Get it now!

And now the puppy is sleeping on the next cushion over and my back's stiffened up so I really have to get in the shower right exactly now. Do you think the puppy will stay sleeping on the couch? Hmmmmm.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The order of events affects the outcome

First the puppy peed on the bathroom floor right in front of me. But see, it's where his litter box and pee pads usually are. But they're not there! I did eventually realize (after hollering) that to a puppy, there isn't actually much discernible difference. "It's okay to pee here" means "It's okay to pee here." Argh.

So I hustled him outside, but then the instant we got outside, there was a VERY LOUD SHOT very close by, like the distance of less than a block away if we had blocks. Close enough that I was yelling things like, "Who's shooting?" and "There are people and dogs right here!"

Then despite the VERY LOUD SHOT and distinct possibility that friendly fire could be coming my way, because it's mowing day I had to pick up the poop. With the puppy on his leash, acting like a goon as usual. And it's hot, so there are a million deer flies swarming on me at all times, and I can't outrun them or whack them with a pine branch (me so high tech) like I usually do because one hand is holding the puppy and the other is picking up hot smelly disgusting maggot-ridden puppy poop with a trowel and putting it into a bag to be thrown out, as per vet's instructions.

I went a little crazy. I think I gained some useful perspective on bending your sanity to the brink there! Er, yay?

Why did I wait so long to mow? Well...it took me most of today to figure out why I'm in so much pain when I didn't even mow yet, but I forgot to take the vitamin D that cures the bone pain and muscle and joint pain. And so by last night and even more so today, I'm staggering around going OW. Ow, I say. Ow!

I kept forgetting to take it all day, too. I'd go into the bathroom and forget to take it. Like a dozen times. I finally just took it now.

And so I might mow tomorrow, despite completely planning to do it all day today and then discovering that I have limits on how much I can handle. Because all of the above, as annoying as it was, especially simultaneously, would not have made me go kind of crazy if I hadn't already been in ridiculous pain.

The moral of the story is: take your meds, doofus.

Puppy forgot about not gnawing on people, too. You can see him trying to do the math. Bite...things? Yes. Lick....things? Fine. Lick....people? Fine. Bite....people? NO! Wait wait wait....so biting is okay some of the time but not all of the time? But which times? Argh! Am only puppy! SO MANY RULES!

This is why you have to yell NO every single time the puppy nibbles or gnaws or gets your hand in his mouth at all. Or else he'll get completely confused. Even now he looks at me anxiously when he wants to chew on something. Chewing this is okay? Just checking.

Plus I have to stick my hands in his mouth and take out the dried roadkill snakes and things that he shouldn't be eating. YUCKY.

I get really bored by realistic fiction really fast. Writing it, I mean. At least about adults. Even though I don't see why this one is different since it's all *becoming* and stuff, like YA. Yay, becoming! But I'm writing along and then I think, "Why?" And also: "Real life is incredibly boring."

I have to admit something. Real life is incredibly boring! I'm not invested in it. Not in work, and there aren't people, though I do care about the dog and the cat. And my garden. And, like, my cello and stuff.

I think living here is a recipe for bad mental health! That's what I think. Though to be honest I've never been interested in realistic fiction or modern angst. What are mysteries in that world? Explorations of some seriously screwed up people. Also there can be really good writing, brilliant, even. Writing where you go AH! out of recognition of something that you didn't know could be named. But trying to write real world, man, I kind of go, "We already have this and it isn't so great, so why make more?" Also it reminds me very much of academic writing, something I can do and even do well, but it's aggressively pointless. I don't get why the world needs it, or why my energy should go toward it, or how it makes the world a better place by getting done.

I guess I just diagnosed my genre once and for all because sheesh! If I made that mystery somehow not of this world exactly, I'd suddenly be more interested. That's weird, right? Like if our mystery heroine was going to figure out the mystery some kind of impossible way and that made life tricky and weird, I might be into it.

Huh.

I guess I have to think about that. I'm sort of curious why, but it might just be the usual Jaye Tyler disaffected uninvested thing going on.

Anyway. YA and/or spec fic and off we go.

Interspecies play time woohoo fun!

Puppy bounces around with his front end down, saying Rrrruff! and kitty peeks around corners at him, swatting with a paw, then dashing away so puppy will chase, then turning around and pouncing and rolling the puppy over. It's awesome! I keep having consternation in case puppy is oppressing the kitty, but it really seems to be mutual interspecies play time, woohoo fun! Nobody gets hurt and anyone could quit if they wanted (kitty could easily go where puppy can't get him) and everyone seems to be having a great time.

The puppy is growing but still isn't quite as big as the cat. Grow, puppy, grow! It would be hilarious if they turned out to be the same size, but I think Gawain will get bigger.

Somehow he's just four months old now. How is that possible when I have thought he was four months old most of the time I've had him? But the vet said he was probably born mid-March and it's mid-July so that makes him four months old.

Something clicked yesterday all of a sudden and he started behaving better. Like he cares when I say no, and  he can entertain himself for whole stretches of minutes, and he's nicer with Mr. Kitty--for the same reason, I think--he seems to understand when the kitty says no with a smack and a hiss.

I've been cutting big chunks out of the kitty's fur on his hips, so embarrassing for him! It's all matted. He hasn't come to get brushed in the morning when I brush my hair, because of lunatic dogs shut in the bathroom with me, so he got matted up on the flanks. Now he has these appalling clear-cut patches like mountains get out west. But he seems MUCH happier. They get something called hot spots when fur gets matted. I don't really understand it except that I know it's BAD.

So even though he tries to bite my arm off every time I cut a chunk off (I've done it in small steps) he seems a lot happier after. Once he's regained his dignity. And forgiven me my inexplicable cat tormenting behavior.

Things to do this weekend! Of course! Vacuum, mop with borax, put the rugs back down (never did get around to that), mow the grass, weed the garden, do the laundry, wash the blankets and dog and cat beds, press and sandwich and baste Birgit's quilt, watch the last two World Cup games, wash the dishes, put things back from mom visit, clean bathroom, find those awesome smaller khaki pants in the attic and bring them down, go to the store, return library books.

Other than that: home free!

You can see why sometimes I just shrug and say screw it and go write my book.

Ooh, add to list: research replacement laptop battery costs. Maybe it's not so bad! Right? It's possible.

Also find some way to download and back up all the digital camera pictures on the computer so I can clear it out so it'll run better. BOY does it complain about that. It does nothing BUT complain. Not enough disk space! Waaaaah! Okay, it's right, but still!

Research dvd players too? Yawn. I guess.

You know what? I TOTALLY THINK I SHOULD WRITE A SERIES OF MYSTERIES EACH SET IN A PLACE I'VE WORKED. There, I said it. Emmanuelle Jones, Temp Detective. Each book starts with a new job location, where someone's been murdered. That's why they call her in, see. She's a detective who masquerades as a temp to replace the missing murdered person only nobody tells the rest of the company that, so everyone thinks she's just a temp. I know!
The way my mind works, that's the first place I went when I saw the giant incinerator.

Dorothy Sayers wrote one of her Lord Peter books that way. Murder Must Advertise. He goes to work in an advertising agency to ferret out who killed one of the people there and how.

Jobs I have worked though possibly not in this exact order and I probably forgot some:
hospital medical library (periodicals section) (volunteer)
college library (interlibrary loan)
college dining hall pot scrubber/dish line/serving line/etc.
nanny
composer's amanuensis
lesbian-owned-and-operated print shop assistant (undercover straight person, but I can pass, it's okay)
various uninteresting data entry temp jobs in large cities: phone company, IBM, etc.
Starbucks barista in Seattle the year Kurt Cobain died
cake decorator in a grocery store
dvd packaging tracker for a large tv/film studio
data cruncher/inventory/database setter upper for a hotel/casino
outgoing call center lackey
ordering/shipping manager
oh and all that college teaching

Not to mention all of the locations I've lived, right?
small town Michigan
suburban Chicago
small town central Pennsylvania
small town Ohio
small town Bavaria (very similar to previous three small town areas, oddly)
Vienna
San Francisco
posh suburban east bay (Orinda)
D.C.
small town Virginia
small town Washington state
Seattle
small town Oregon
Philadelphia

Los Angeles
vanishingly small town Maine

Obviously in the first book, she's down on her luck and everything has fallen through (disaster! ack!) and so she goes off to her first temp job and it just happens that she's replacing someone who disappeared suddenly, didn't give notice or anything, and then of course they *find* that person all murdered up and on the premises, which makes everyone there a suspect. And she has a meeting of the minds with the detective who comes to investigate, who realizes she's the only one who is absolutely in the clear, so she stays on and figures out the mystery at great personal risk from alarming office personnel with staplers and letter openers, then receives the reward and decides to go into business secretly doing exactly this.

It would have to be a city or the outskirts, or everyone would know right away. Or the temp agent could be part of the deal, a washed up P.I. who went into temp-mongering after she burned out. But our heroine is an independent contractor who just gets contacted by the agency. Awesome.

I love that I'm working out the logistics of how to fill out the paperwork already. But it matters!

Also I love anything that turns random past events into RESEARCH.

I have to go watch the World Cup 3rd place game. Awww. It's kind of sad! But they tend to fight it out really hard so it should be a good game. Although at this point I think I'll probably write through the whole thing.

Books! Books! Books!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tricky math for puppy chow

Can you see this graph? I'm slightly puzzled by it.

Gawain the Puppy weighed 16 lbs a week and a half ago and seems to grow visibly overnight, so I'm figuring around 20 lbs right now, more or less.

He's what, 16 weeks, going on 17? So four months. So he should get around 3.5 cups of food per day? Because I'm feeding him about 1.75 and he's not thin. Nor is he fat. But now I'm wondering what would happen if I doubled his food.

I expect it would involve paper towels.

Oh! Hi! I've been absentee. I'm still absentee. I'm far too tired to be here. But my strategery for the evening got thwarted because the laundry didn't dry, so I'm waiting for it, against the wishes of every molecule of my being, all of which want to GO TO SLEEP.

Two nights on the couch. Oof.

My mom went to my brother's today. I had to take a second day off work because she was both the unstoppable force and the immovable object. I called in and said my mom was staying an extra day and could I please have today off too and please call me if that's not okay and I will totally come in to work. And they didn't. So I'm okay, right?

Stressful. We had a nice visit, but you cannot get her moving. She physically moves incredibly slowly, like an actual turtle, like actual turtle speeds, and she also sort of balks and delays, so getting anywhere is double extra slow and sometimes seems nearly impossible.

So anyway. Fun visit! But after a while I'm like, HURRY UP ALREADY NOW NOW NOW GO GO GO MOVE MOVE MOVE. Heh.

So she was going to go to my brother's this morning when I got up to go to work but I knew that would never happen--she doesn't even wake up until 9 or 10 and then takes hours to get breakfast and shower and get dressed, never mind getting her stuff to the car. So yeah, I called in last night when she floated that plan.

We went to Fort Knox yesterday. The Civil War era fort down in Bucksport, not the one with the gold, though I was totally hoping some confused person would have stowed some gold bars in this one and I could slip one down my shirt and scoot home with it. I am sure you can cash those in quite easily somehow! Or just spend them as is! Maybe my change would come in silver ingots!

I sure do like the word ingot. It's like carat. A unit of usage we do not generally bandy about!

Oh! The fort. It was awesome, despite its lack of gold bars. It had many areas to explore and was all made of giant blocks of granite, with lots of grottoes where Julia could take my flashlight and duck in and yell out, "Daddy, I'm in the dungeon!" Gawain was allowed to go and acquired vast flocks of fans wherever he went. Like actual crowds of people gathering around him and admiring him and cooing and petting him and begging for information about his breed and siblings so they could get a dog just like him. It was awesome and bewildering! And now Gawain believes the world is full of strangers who will show him infinite love and adoration, which makes me very happy.

It was hot as blazes and I just fountained sweat everywhere like that guy in Airplane. And I got sunburned, but only a little. And everyone had a great time. And then we went for ice cream, which was my only requirement for going in the first place.

Like this: Sounds great! But only if we get ice cream afterward.

And so it was!

I got maple walnut and Maine blueberry, which feels entirely foresty somehow as choices.

Mostly my mom and I have been playing with the puppy and making the sorts of salads that aren't really salads but are things mixed with mayo, like tuna salad and chicken salad. And being really hot. At least me. So ungodly hot and humid! I had to sit in front of the fan. She weighs about 96 lbs and was perfectly comfortable. But it would get hot hot hot and then there'd be a raging downpour and then everything would steam and ferns and moss would grow from the floorboards and an ankylosaurus would lumber through the yard and I'd fan myself to a pterodactyl's plaintive cry. Yaaaaaaaark! That's what they say. Yaaaaaaaaaark!

The clothes are dry enough now, right? I AM SURE.

After she left, I put on the USA game (recorded) pretty much that instant and the puppy wobbled over to the couch and collapsed into sleep on my lap and I designed and started an acorn hat and screamed and yelled about the game, which was completely awesome. Oh and then I made chocolate mousse but it was kind of yucky because I don't like cream. Cream, man. It's gross! And then I watched Japan trounce Sweden decisively and was about to go to bed when LAUNDRY THWARTED ME. Dang!

Only two more World Cup games! One Saturday to determine 3rd and 4th place, and then the final Sunday between USA and Japan. I'm psyched for that one (a world of DUH) but even more so than usual because I love the Japan team and would not be devastated if they won the thing, unlike with lots of other teams. I mean, I could be a gracious loser if Japan won. Their team is just fabulous.

Look, they hold up this giant banner after every game that says something like thank you to all of our supporters around the world, and they turn each direction with it and bow to the fans. They mean for the earthquake and tsunami, all the relief they received. But I think that is just the coolest, nicest, classiest possible thing to do and it makes me get all teary-eyed every time.

World Cup in general makes me teary-eyed, between national anthems and people getting hurt and scoring goals and teams winning and teams losing. Oh! I love it so much!

The puppy is swiveling his ears wildly in his sleep. What do you hear, puppy? What?

I really don't get that feeding chart math. If you read the headers, you'll see, for instance, that it says that for a 15 lb dog who is 8-12 months, feed one cup of food per day. But you guys, if your puppy stays 15 lbs for four months, you are not feeding it enough. Know what I mean? Plus there's a skinny 20 lb dog and a fat 20 lb dog. They both weigh 20 lbs.

I find that chart to raise more questions than it answers, but fortunately my friend Didi the vet said you should go by how they look. Getting fat? Feed less. Getting skinny? Feed more. Again, a world of duh, but some of us need to be told these things, don't we?

My puppy is sleeping with his back along my leg. His back end is at my hip joint and his head is below my knee. He's long! But not excessively tall yet. His legs are longer in proportion than a Corgi's legs but not as long as, say, a Lab.

My mom offered to pay for his neutering, awww! I said, "You just don't want to be a great-grandmother!" And she said that was true. She said she was Gawain's grandma the whole time, isn't that adorable? He was absolutely crazy about her and kept trying to crawl into her lap, and then went and laid down on top of her suitcase when she was trying to leave. Awwwww! Gawain loves his grandma! She brought him all of Rollodog's toys, which when we unpacked them I discovered included some of Elsadog's toys. Oh the chew toy history therein!

The actual very first Nylabone I bought Elsa back in 1993 was in there, the one we walked to the pet store and got the day after I brought her home. Can you believe that? And the official World Cup soccer ball she found and brought to me. Awww!

Oh, and my sister sent sulfite-free wine up with my mom, so I was able to have a glass of wine! Or even two! How nice is that? So nice!

This is how nice my sister is: she was marrying off her son this weekend, and then her father-in-law died suddenly and the funeral was yesterday, but she still managed to send treats for the dog and sulfite-free wine for me, and a vase of flowers from the wedding. She's about the most thoughtful person in the world, though admittedly she gets overwhelmed by actual people in the room with her and gets cranky. (We are all that way. Actual people: too much! Aaaaah!)

Okay, the dryer just buzzed. I am off to BED.

Happy whatever day of the week it is! Here's hoping I can stay awake at work tomorrow!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday, woohoo!

It's all muggy and gross, but hurray, Saturday! And puppy let me sleep in (after a 5:45 outing) until 8:45! Which is so late! Awesome!

A decent amount of sleep has an excellent effect on a person's outlook on life, doesn't it? I know!

Though I did have horrible nightmares about explosions causing dog dismemberment and cat harm and then the vet refusing to let me have Siegfried back because they said I obviously didn't care about him. Eeeeeek! And then my dissertation advisor confiscated all my clothes because I'd hung them up in the office coat room. Nightmares are so weird.

I love that she's still the evil villain of my nightmares, though. I think that's hilarious and awful.

Huge thunderstorms all night long, which is why the nightmares about explosions. Gawain the Puppy is totally unfazed by thunderstorms, isn't that cool?

He's a really great puppy. Yesterday I was so exhausted and frustrated with his bad behavior that I wanted to throttle him, which makes him behave much worse, in the classic feedback loop, so I think getting enough sleep is going to be a priority for sanity all around.

Also there's something weird going on with bug spray. When I use it, I feel really weird and terrible. So I might not. Though I kind of can't NOT use it or I'll be utterly devoured. I have been wearing sweatpants and a raincoat with the hood up and you know what happens? I get mosquito bites on my fingers! It's true.

So I don't know, that's something I can't quite figure out. Put mosquito netting over the whole yard? Run really fast the whole time I'm outside? Wear a bee suit? Apparently I am just the most delicious thing that ever walked through my yard.

I'm all confused because my forearms are tanned. When did this happen, and how? Okay, I'm guessing sun, but when? Must have been when I was mowing last weekend. Did I mow in sunny hours? Must have, right?

Here is the best anti-maniac tool for puppies: the Kong bone. It has holes in it where you can stuff dog treats. He can't do anything else until he gets those out, isn't that great? I use puppy chow because of his delicate little digestion.

Actually I'm nearly out of puppy chow. Ack! I'm having trouble figuring out what to feed my mom when she's here from Monday night through Wednesday morning. Which is related to puppy chow only in that I was going to buy her some food, see, but there isn't enough money to get puppy chow and gas for the car and food. But I have things in the freezer like chicken breasts. So maybe I can just get her yogurt and a loaf of bread and then make chicken salad (she loves that) and, er, I don't know what for dinner.

Must think about this.

I do have a bag of regular dog food but considering the puppy's delicate digestion I'm not so sure I want to rock that boat, see.

Obviously the solution is to give the dog food to my mom, but somehow I don't think that'll fly!

Yesterday I had no lunch planned or brought so I ate some chicken the chef brought out for us to try. BIG MISTAKE. I thought: just chicken! Where's the harm? But he'd made it with some fancy rubs that were extra super full of POISON (for me) and my face and mouth immediately swelled up, rats.

I took the benadryl immediately (apologies for hipster use of "the") and then was stupid all afternoon, while doing the hardest part of my job.

It's like the GRE logic section, which was my very favorite, where I got the best scores, so you know I love this part of the job THE VERY BEST. I actually begged to be allowed to do it and everyone was like, "Whoa, you crazy, girl," because rural Mainers like to put on a faux urban black accent and sound like IDIOTS. I kid you not.

Yesterday I did part of it in a benadryl fog. In a severe case of the stupids such that I couldn't remember what had just happened moments before. Like the driver came back and they were all messing with the lobster (which was frelled up and freezer burned) and someone asked if the driver came back and I said no because I hadn't seen him. Because I'd already forgotten. Doy.

ANYWAY. Lunch and sleep: the secrets to sanity. Apparently. So I've heard. Must try that one day!

I love how the puppy's biggest cause of disquiet is that I am in a room where there is no dog bed and insufficient dog toys. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out why he's bouncing around all loopy. Then I go get a couch cushion/dog bed and put it next to me, collect some toys, and put them on the bed. And suddenly I have Mr. Quiet Peaceful Dog. Awwwww.

Humans are dense. What can I say?

I'll buy more dog beds, obviously. Just: cash flow. Stupid Online Job! Why do you have to abandon me right when my expenses have increased? I need you, Stupid Other Job! Come back! Give me paychecks! Now now now!

So: today I have some more cleaning plans, including scrubbing the bathroom and finishing up the kitchen, which just needs the fridge cleaned and the floor scrubbed. I did a ton of it last night while in my towering bad mood.

Very effective for cleaning! Grrrr, a spot! I destroy you!

The USA v. Brazil game is today. Ooooooh, anxiety! In fact it's coming up soon. Guess what, I get to do no more than dust during that game and the other one (Germany v. Japan, which will be a slaughter) so I get to sew quilts and have fun times. Hurray! My mom will like seeing the quilt top when it's finished and it's very messy half done, strips hanging over the music stand and all.

Tomorrow: mow the grass, vacuum again, mop the floors (hoping it's dry enough, unlike today), and put more things away. Why is everything OUT? I know I don't have sufficient storage space, but I do have *some* after all. Must put things away.

I got an awful lot done this morning already.

I have to vacuum the garage. Isn't that weird? But the puppy spends the day out there and he's getting dirty from it. It's not a particularly dirty garage or anything--I swept it after the winter and again not too long ago--but sweeping and vacuuming pick up different levels of dirt, I guess. I feel like I've been in a constant war on dirt since the advent of Mr. Puppy.

Do I have any pictures of Bruni the dog online? I don't know. My sister's old dog, the famous Little Brown Dog. I think he's going to be about her size. My brother said Gawain looks like a cross between Bruni and Elsadog so I keep wanting to look at pictures of Bruni to remind me how great she was.

That's because...oooh, jeez, he's part pit bull. The older he gets, the more he looks it, especially in the face, and most especially the eyes. There's no reason to dislike a dog for being part pit bull. Behavior tendencies might be influenced by breed, but certainly not by being *part* something, when he's clearly not even half. You can't be put off by someone's grandmother being a pit bull. That's like thinking someone is going to invade Poland because their grandmother was German. (I assure you, I am not going to invade Poland. Though I did go to Czechoslovakia once.)

My friend D. the vet was talking about this, the sociology of pit bulls, how they appeal to a certain portion of the population and how that actually has nothing to do with whether the dog is vicious or sweet. She sees all kinds. She's a vet in a Petco or something right now. PetSmart, maybe. Suburban. She sees a lot of pit bulls. Some are absolutely wonderful and some are monsters, all depending on the person who raised them, obviously.

I'm so ashamed in my lefty heart that I see that in his face and get that sinking feeling. See? That's totally racist or something. Breedist. AND WRONG. Inaccurate. Because hello, any dog I raise from a baby is going to be the sweetest thing ever. Well behaved and properly brought up. I am super good at training dogs.

It sure gives me pause about fostering humans, huh? Because I believe very very strongly that you are not your background or your genetics or any of that. You are much more than how you're raised, and that can change at any time. You can take a dog from a terrible background and train it to be perfectly great. People can recover from terrible things in their pasts and overcome them. OBVIOUSLY. So every time I see that little puppy face and go, "Oh no," I get all upset with myself and tangled up and mad at myself, because if I can still fall into that when I believe the opposite VERY STRONGLY as a major tenet of my existence, then yikes!

And then puppy is going, "What? What did I do?" And I'm reminded of the boy in my class at Temple who wrote an excellent paper about going to the ATM and having the person ahead of him in line turn around and catch sight of him and hurry off without getting any money after all, too afraid, and how that made him feel. And then I remember how that boy got so traumatized by all of that, living in Philly for the first time instead of the nice suburbs, that he stopped doing his school work and failed his classes. Know what I mean?

He was just a nice kid. He was a good, smart kid. I called him into my office to try to find out why he stopped doing his work and he had a hard time articulating all this, but it added up to: what's the point, when nobody's going to see me for who I am anyway? And I would say the teacher things, and I meant all of them, and this awesome black professor man with short dreadlocks kind of adopted him and gave him lots of talking-to time and worked really hard with him, but he still had a horrible time of it.

I really do promise not to invade Poland. Honest. Not even once.

Okay, have to hit the showers and then watch my game. Abby! Abby! I really hope the USA doesn't get eliminated today, ack! Brazil is not as good as they should be, but they have a way of coming through in the clinch. But then, so does USA. So it should be an awesome game one way or another.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Down from the trees, first mistake

Ooh, did you know I constantly think about two or possibly one excellent but very difficult alternate history sci-fi novels? Yes! It's true. Well, not constantly, but recurringly at very short intervals.

In one, instead of getting all bald, we got all furry, which changed the pressure of our development in all sorts of interesting ways because we never needed to develop textiles or modesty or all sorts of things that follow upon those two things. I know!

In the other, we never came down from the trees but instead developed a whole culture up there. There's a Zilpha Keatley Snyder series for kids that has people living in giant trees but nothing like this that I know of. There are dangerous living on the edge people who venture down but it's like the most insane thing you could ever do because our lack of predation on the ground means that we're way down the food chain. Scaredy people who are prey would develop a hugely different culture. Cool, eh?

You could combine them, but why?

So anyway. My back! Is killing me! Such that I cannot sit, stand, or lie in comfort at any time! Which is complicating the whole sleep/work/writing thing. Though walking the dog is okay. This has been going on for weeks and is getting worse, but what could possibly be more boring than back pain? Grout? Never should have come down out of the trees is all I'm saying. OW.

It's more that same old right sacro-ileac joint that has been screwed up forever.

What else is going on? Puppy is awesome. Except he keeps eating the rugs in the garage, like the one on the steps. So I threw that out today, and then in a frenzy of cleaning, scrubbed the steps. Now my favorite thing is when Gawain trots up to the steps and then looks at them all quizzically, trying to figure out what's different.

Gawain is completely awesome, by the way. He sleeps through the night, though I don't, due to the aforementioned critical back/hip/pelvic pain that's killing me dead. Also I am tormented by this crazy anxiety at night about where the other animal is. I know the kitty is sleeping in the chair, and Gawain is in his crate, but where is the other one? WHERE??? Seriously, I wake up in a panic. This has been going on for weeks also. Probably it's the result of the back pain, but I think it's kind of a bizarre thing to think in your sleep on a regular basis. Seriously.

I was trying to type this in a sort of half-reclining way. Lying on my right side is excruciating but the left is merely uncomfortable. I think I'm starring in an experiment on sleep deprivation and how long it takes for a person to go berserk when prevented from ever resting comfortably. Hmmm.

It may be the lawn mower causing this, i.e. a repeated but minor re-injury/strain versus something serious and lasting.

Wouldn't you think all the walks would help? Seriously.

What else is going on? Huge crashing downpour thunderstorm tonight, very exciting! The puppy is learning many things. USA lost their game today, oh so sad, but my girl Abby Wambach finally scored, hurray! Off her shoulder, but it counted because it was obviously accidental. Oh, she's so awesome! I made some weird wheaten gruel for dinner from an unlabeled white packet I found in the cupboard, but it was really good in the way of many hot grainy foods if you put butter and salt on them and don't mind your dinner sitting in your stomach like wet cement.


I started assembling Birgit's baby's quilt today. It's kind of bizarre! It's a rainbow series of squares running down the quilt lengthwise, with strips of darkish blue with stars in between. so the effect is like some kind of strange vertical gay rights riff on the American flag, even though that was not remotely my intention. I have no idea what it's going to look like when it's done, but it should be kind of overwhelming and interesting. One of a kind! That's for sure.

Off to bed, though not to get any good sleep, alas, even with nightly benadryl. I have a hugely busy weekend coming up, cleaning and prepping for my mom to visit next week. The house is reasonably cleanish but a complete chaotic untidy mess. So much to do!

Puppy is sliding off the dog bed and onto my leg, which is adorable and all, but we *really* have to get to bed right now now now.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bunnies!

How've you been? Eh? Happy Fourth and Canada Day and all those holidays like that! Yeah!

I made grits and green beans for dinner, oh holy yum.

Grits, you have to make them. So good! Boil a cup of water. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup grits and some salt. Whisk it around a bit. Let it come back to a boil (takes like two seconds) and then turn to medium low heat and cook five minutes. Put it in a bowl, put some butter on it, and enjoy! Personally I could easily eat double or triple that quantity, but good sense prevails over the consumption of something the consistency of wet cement, so that amount is actually just right.

Mmmmmmmmm, grits.....

The puppy is making me run up and down the road, which I'm sure is good for me *somehow* but mostly makes me wonder how I transformed from speedy running creature into squashy pudding creature who can't really run. Like, where's the boing in my step? But since I'm running *at all* I should not wonder or complain but merely DO MORE and therefore become able to do even yet still more.

We still don't walk on the paved road where people actually drive, but he's getting much less scared of cars. I think it was right to wait. Though dull and all. And I'm itching to get out and get some really good long walks. But puppies have to grow their muscles! Otherwise you have to carry them home. And so on.

He seems to like staying in the garage during the day much more than in the bathroom. And who wouldn't? So yay for that.

Today I heard a great story engine thing. Someone at work was talking about her daughter who works at a car rental place on weekends and summers. And apparently over the holidays, people constantly leave gifts they received but didn't want in their rental cars. It's *a thing.* Like a fairly common thing. Did you know that? I never knew that!

But people leave all sorts of other things in cars too, sometimes expensive electronics and that kind of thing, which the company holds for thirty days in case they claim them. But apparently it's very common to buy a car seat or a playpen to use in a rental car and then just leave it in the car. I mean, what else are you going to do, really, but I feel like there's something missing there.

Anyway the idea of all these strange and random items coming into her daughter's possession sounded very story-ish to me. Like, what if they're not random? What if they add up to something? What if a dozen other things? What if someone leaves something and she has already given it to her little daughter and then thirty-one days later that person wants it back?

I like stories where a THING causes all these problems.

Oh holy crap! How did I NOT name my puppy McGuffin? How, how, how?

Well, it can be his middle name. Gawain McGuffin Cuchullain Montmorency Burns.

Of course, he's a person (clearly) and not a thing, BUT he's this constant Hitchcock device of something must be done by x time or else aaaaaaahhhhh! My friend D. and I had a constant joke about this back in the day, about how dogs are like time bombs and it's a constant rush to defuse them or they'll EXPLODE. And if a dog has an accident because you didn't make it? The dog exploded! Exactly!

It's like one of those hourglass timers only in reverse. The sand doesn't run out...the pee runs in. And when it's too full, boom!

Speaking of boom, brother and Julia and I went to the fireworks, hurray! And now I'm really tired! But it was totally fun in a combination of excellent horrific small town Maine people-watching, great fireworks, Julia extravaganza (tremendously good-natured and patient, up to a point), bug bites, damp, incredibly kind and thoughtful people in crowds (one of the very best things about Maine), fabulous sound bites ("Ma'am, your grass is on fire.") cute babies to flirt with, dogs to admire, and on and on.

But now I'm home with my puppy curled up in my not-a-lap, his favorite, where I put the soles of my feet together and form a diamond and he curls up in the middle. I don't know, I always sit like that. I did not take him, obviously. Loud explosions with the puppy who jumps when the neighbors shoot their rifles a mile away? I think not.

I survived the crowds. AM VERY PROUD. I hate crowds.

And I wore my patriotic socks, you guys. Blue heels and toes, stars around the ankles, red and white stripes on the feet. Awesome!

It is so very very time for bed. Happy loud explosion holiday! Boom!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Excellent

Excellent dream where the power went out in my cave so Neil Gaiman and I had to eat up all the potato salad and make tea on the gas stove while his kid took the puppy for a walk down by the creek.

Brain, you are weird, but I like you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Innnnnnnterestink

I've got the Japan/Mexico game on right now, but they're 2-0 since the 14th minute so it's not that gripping a game. 2-0 means the team who's down kind of gives up and the team who's up just gets entrenched and plays it safe. Oops, now it's 3-0. With so many games to watch, I might just turn it off and go to the England game.
I did not expect this game to be so one-sided! Gosh! It's all the fault of the baby keeper. She's 16. Ack!

I took Mr. Puppy for a walk in the woods *and* made him walk to the landlord's house with me, but he's still not tired, can you believe that? What do I have to do to tire this dog out? Jeez. It tired *me* out, heh.

There was a whole bag of kitty treats on the bookcase, but it is now mysteriously absent. Do you think they worked together to filch it? Where did it go???

I suspect housepet COLLUSION.

Today I called the dog "dogfriend" by analogy with girlfriend or boyfriend. Okay, way to generate language, subconscious!

Had some excellent but peculiar dreams where I was drinking and telling great stories with Robert Redford, except cute young Robert Redford (and cute young me, for that matter) and just having the best time ever. Benadryl! This vanilla version of a perfectly safe yogurt turns out to have all sorts of vile poisons in it. Whoops. Never trust manufacturers!

Ooh, plus tonight I got the garage put together as a puppy-safe zone so he can be in there during the day, looking out the screen door and having a fun time and (oh yeah) GETTING TIRED. Holy cow, he just doesn't even sit still the whole evening long. I think he sleeps all day.
The landlord appreciated my joke with the BEWARE OF DOG sign. Hee. Yes, your ankles are in serious danger! Also the bottom 1/3 of your pants! Grrrrr. Ruff!

Tomorrow: mowing the grass, washing the clothes, making pizza for the denizens of Stately Burns Manor, my idea. In fact I called to see what they did and didn't like and all that. Aren't I proactive? I know! Also I was curious what they were going to tell Julia about my mom's dog having died. Like, do we say he got old and sick, or he's in heaven, or what is the party line? Apparently Sigrid says: just say he died. Oh, okay.

Oooooh, England is SO GOOD. I wonder if they could win this thing? They're playing much better today. I hope it's not Germany. So boring! Brazil isn't playing together as a team. The USA team is good but I'm not sure they can win it.

I keep thinking Gawain is kind of big because he's so much bigger than he was, and then I see him from even a slight distance and realize how short his legs are, like a Corgi. But he's still very very puppy-shaped and clearly has a lot of growing to do.

I don't suppose walks will make his legs grow longer, eh? He has the best possible nutrition and lots of exercise and sleep and of course looooooooove, as well as a furry sibling who smacks him in the head very often, which builds character or something, right?

Guess what, I have OJ! It's the food item I get most excited about. A great big jug of it! Oh man! Yum.

And that is the vast excitement from here. Woohoo!