Friday, March 09, 2007

I know I would miss it

You know, it is funny. Before we got Ruby, I never realized how much I missed having a dog. We always had dogs and assorted pets growing up. I like cats, and other animals too. But there is something about a dog. Always underfoot, so happy to see you when you come home. And Ruby is good for me, because she is so happy about such mundane things. She even dances for that disgusting dry dog food now LOLOL. When I come home she dances around me and jumps up for kisses. When we get up in the morning she does a HUGE stretch, then wags her tail and gives me kisses and acts very excited to get out of bed. At night, she is just as excited about bedtime. As soon as I turn off my lamp, she runs in circles and dances, and then runs to get a toy. Have to have a toy to go to sleep, you know. It is hard to be too serious with a pug around, because even when they are acting decidedly sorrowful it is still amusing. Most of the time they are hilarious to watch. Even when she sleeps, I find it hard to suppress a smile at the snores and snorts, and stretches and how she rolls from one side to the other with such determination. She is not here right now. I have started several times, upon not feeling her under the desk, and panicked thinking I have left her outside. Once or twice I even went looking for her to make sure she wasn't trapped in the basement (slippery floor, if there is something in her way and she can't take a running start she can't get up the stairs LOL). In other words, I am an idiot. She is off to the groomer to have a good bath and defurring, nail clipping, and other assorted indignities. I did tell them not to brush her teeth. There is no point of torturing her, after all. She always looks so sad and limp when I bring her there. She doesn't like strangers particularly, unless they are sitting on our couch. In that case she will climb all over them like a mountain goat, wag her tail like a fiend, and give lots of stinky pug kisses. All the better if she manages to give you a french kiss or two. Once she is done that, she is likely to get a wet toy and bully you into playing with her by forcing it into your hands. If you hide your hands she will balance it carefully in your lap, and look directly in your eyes as if to say "This is a TOY. We play with the TOY". If you ignore her, she claws at you with her pinchy toes. If you have never been toe pinched by a pug, then you are missing the oddest experience of your life LOL. Sometimes if you ignore her long enough she will wander away or come sit on my lap, but rarely are visitors that lucky. When the old 'put-the-toy-in-the-lap' trick does not work, she just might bring it up on the couch, wait for an ungaurded moment (which are few and far between once you realize she is a french kisser) and attempts to push the toy into your MOUTH. That is right, your mouth. After all, that is how SHE carries her toy. It hasn't quite occured to her that you might carry things...well....differently. But when she is thrust into a strange place with strange people, especially when she is on a leash, she gets all droopy and her tail goes limp and her paws sweat, and there is nothing more pitiful looking than a slouchy pug. I have been told, that while she does continue to have sad eyes, that mere minutes after I leave her ears go up and she will wag her tail at the groomer, and looks around with more interest. But she will NOT accept a treat until I come back. They give them to her, she rarely takes it from them. If she does take it, she carefully places it beside her until I get there. At that point she will pick it up and put it in my hand (to show it to me, not to carry because she thinks things are carried in the mouth, remember?) then eat it with gusto. Her favourite part of that ordeal is the conditioner. She likes when they massage it all over her, and I am sure it feels good when they let it sit for a bit. She always has itchy, dry-ish skin. She isn't so fond of the rinsing, unless there is more massaging at the same time. Now. Having just dropped her off, you would think that I would know where she was. But immediately upon returning home, I was worried when she didn't come to the door. Where is my dancer? Where is my baby? Oh. Yeah. Then a few minutes later when I opened the bathroom door and she wasn't waiting for me in the hallway. Where is she? Is she getting into something she shouldn't (just about the only time she leaves my side)? Oh. Yeah. I stretch my feet under the desk AS I WRITE THIS, and panic for a moment when they don't find a squishy warm snoring thing under there. Did I leave her outside? Is she trapped in the basement? Oh. Yeah. You know, I often say that she isn't smart, and really, I am beginning to wonder if maybe the intelligence deficiency is mine. Remember Ruby's "grandmother"? Well, we have made amends, and she has convinced me to let her give my baby the pug treatment. Some sort of drying that forces the water out of the fur (no drying cage thank goodness), grinding the nails instead of clipping. I told her good luck, as when I touch her paws she goes medievel on my arse. Once we went to a different groomer that also had a pug. She wanted to grind the nails instead of clipping, which I had never heard of but was interested in. Pug nails are thick and tend to get splitty and scratchy when clipped. The can go shorter and the result is smoother with the grinder. Now. When we got Ruby I subjected her to the same torture as I do all my animals. Every time she was near me, I poked around inside her ears and touched her belly and opened her mouth, and fondled her paws. The intent was to create a pet that didn't mind having these areas touched and could be easily pilled. It has worked a treat with every single other animal I ever used the technique for. But I had never met a PUG. They are truly an enigma (hey, that is Ruby's daddy's name). "Ha ha" she said. "I know pugs. I can do this. I can touch her feet". And I said you go and do whatever little thing you want, but have fun because Ruby is going to bite you a million times. She claimed that she was a pug-foot-touching expert and could not only GRIND those nails, she could paint them. I said WHATEVER, and smiled knowingly. Needless to say, when I picked Ruby up she had one or two ground nails, the rest were clipped, and there was no nail polish in sight. We were also asked not to come back. Strangers can clip her nails, because it is fast and the stranger factor is the saving grace here. She is wary of you, so she will tolerate some light paw touching. Hold her foot a little longer, and the tugging starts. Once she realizes she can tug and you aren't going to hurt her, all is lost. You are no longer a 'stranger', she is no longer wary of you. You will NOT be able to touch her feet, and if you persist she will give you pug pinches. Pug pinches are infuriating more than they are dangerous. It is like being pinched in a million places in rapid succession by a damp pillow. That is the only way I can explain it. It is started and overwith before you can even register it is happening. Advance that hand towards her again, and now it is a GAME. She weaves and bobs, dances towards you and delivers a good pinching, then dances back before you even know she did it. The only difference between her play pinch and her peeved pinch, is when she plays the teeth rarely connect with your skin. When she is peeved, it starts off fairly light then she gets you a good one! Now, don't get me wrong. Ruby is not mean at all. And as infuritating as it is, it is also absolutely hysterical. That is what makes it so diabolical. Plus she will pinch whatever she can get, so no body parts are safe. And pulling your hands in will not save you, she will follow them right to where they are, even if it means climbing inside your t-shirt. Don't ask me how I know that. She is also a pusher. She will come up to you, and sort of pounce/push you with her front paws. She is a solid little thing, and that bounce can knock you over if you are small or not ready for it. Or leave bruises. Sometimes if she is really excited about her dinner, she will eat a bit then come over and push you, then run back again. As if to say "Can you believe how GOOD this stuff is?". If you sit on the floor she will push you in an attempt to knock you down so she can lick your face. Seeing as she stands on your hair at the same time, it is difficult to escape. Don't tell me my dog is poorly trained. She KNOWS how she is supposed to act. She just chooses to do things her OWN way most of the time ;). I laid down MY rules. She is to be dry when I pick her up. DRY. Bone dry. Right to the skin. Pugs are double coated and when the top layer feels dry, the inside can still be as sodden as a sponge. This leads to mats. Mats do not make Dances happy. Be especially careful of her ears. Her ears are very sensitive to water and cannot get water inside them, or they will become infected. Ear infections do not make Dances happy. Please do not perfume her. She is a dog. There is no need for her to smell like a hooker, nor a chocolate chip cookie. Plus, every scent seems to give me a sinus headache. Sinus headaches do not make Dances happy. After that, do whatever you can before the sad eyes or the ever-loving pinching overtakes you. It is almost time to go get her. I might have to go early and wait. I just stretched my feet and panicked again.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Why doesn't she trust me?

My sister had a poodle (RIP Tia). When my parents, who also have a poodle, went out of town they would leave their dog with her. The dogs barely tolerated each other, but the cat liked the new company. Heck, when I go away she takes Ruby too. But now she no longer has a poodle. Parents have TWO poodles now, having just got a puppy about a month ago. They are going away for spring break, and leaving their dogs with sister. She really misses her little Tia and pines for her, and loves the new puppy to death so that is fine. She will enjoy having them there. Only thing is, she made plans to go away for roughly half those days. And she is in a panic about what to do with the dogs. HELLO, am I invisible? I have a nice fenced yard, I am home pretty much all day. Ruby gets along with (well, actually ignores) other dogs, and our cats could care less. If the poodles chase them they will be fine, if they don't they will be fine, these cats roll with the punches. "Well maybe. I'll have to think about it". What. The. Hell. And this is the GOOD sister. What does she think I will do, eat the dogs? The worst that will happen, is DD will cry for a week after they are gone. We get so attached LOL. I told her if she wouldn't agree to let me take them, I was going to call MOM - rofl. Speaking of animals, what is up with Xena? For the first few years of her life, I was the only person who even knew she existed. DH made her nervous and she was scared to death of DD. If DD was awake or DH was around, Xena was nowhere to be found. Once they were gone, I would see her sneaking around here and there. We had a nightly conference at the kitchen table before I went to bed. She is a skittish one, and all black except for a small patch of white on her chest. Because of her skittishness and her liking for clinging and skuttling along edges of furniture, we sometimes call her "Squirrel". When DD got a bit older, she started coming out more and even got used to DH, although if he made any quick movements she was gone like a shot. She is so nosy and sneaky. I would catch her investigating DD's room at night, or checking out DH. In fact, for a while she would sneak up on him while he was sleeping and LICK HIS ELBOWS! Boy, did he feel violated ROFL. Turns out, she was after the lotion he puts on his arms, but still. When a cat that used to hide from you is now climbing under the covers to lick your hidden elbows, it can be a little disconcerting. Since changing their food (and the amount they get) she has been more visible in the household. But we are not sure if that is good or bad LOL. You see, she steals. She gets into things. She sneaks around. If we hear something falling off the table or being knocked off a chair, you can bet it is her. If your pen is missing from your purse, or your glove from your schoolbag? Xena. She will take a pony tail holder FROM YOUR HAIR and run away with it. At night, after DD goes to bed, I sit and knit and watch tv. Ruby is ALWAYS on my lap, or next to me. Jasmine often joins us, and will intimidate Ruby until she moves off my lap, but for all intents and purposes they are as close to me or on me if possible. Xena now, has decided she needs to know what is so great about these evening visits. She will come and sit next to me on the couch, looking at us intently like "Is this fun? Are we liking this?". She doesn't last long before she tries to chew yarn, or batt at my magazine, or skuttle across the back of the couch like a whacko (ears back, tail whipping about). Sometimes she tries to lick Jasmine's head (she does NOT like this LOL) or will sniff Ruby's face (which makes her nervous and causes her to emit a long worried snort - "ooooooog"). A few times, when Jasmine and Ruby were both on the couch but not on my lap, Xena tried it out. She even purred. But again, she didn't last long before her squirrel instincts kicked in and she tried to steal a DPN or gave me a nip, or patted me on the nose with a paw. What is up with that? She does it to get my attention, but really, if you are on my lap and squinting up into my face, and I am LOOKING AT YOU, you have my attention. Now keep that paw - which has tramped happily through the litter box, I might add - to yourself. And stop trying to lick my elbows. And don't fricken BITE me. Sheesh! Just a moment ago, she snuck through here, sniffing things and looking at stuff. It is kind of funny. She stole a pen from the desk, but I got it back from her. How does she even know they are there? I just bought them last night for goodness sake. Once I had an odd feeling, and looked down to catch her stealing a receipt that was sticking part way out of my pocket. HOW RUDE. She also loves loves loves to steal socks. DD's socks in particular. She makes a trilling noise with them in her mouth, and I swear she is carrying them like a mother cat would her kitten. Or, maybe it is closer to a sound of triumph a cat might make after a successful hunt, because she has been known to flip the socks into the air, catch them between her paws and "kill them very badly" - which involves a lot of back claw kicking, biting, and stamping with paws. I would hope mother cats don't do THAT to their babies. And then, the piece de resistance, the ultimate feat, she "punishes" the socks. She will step away, turn her back on them, and sit with tail flipping violently and ears flat back. This is the ultimate in cat torture, to be IGNORED in a hostile manner. Just in case you weren't familiar. "See? I am ignoring you. LOOK AT ME. See how I ignore you? DO NOT LOOK AWAY. I ignore you again." - cats are so much fun! I hope she is being more visible and sociable because she is finally comfortable with DD and DH, and not because she is planning our demise. Time will only tell.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

So much for march break

March break is NEXT WEEK. I was waiting to hear which days DH got approval for, before booking anything. I knew we both couldn't take the whole week, and a big vacation was out. After all, that trip to Florida in January was our big trip for the year. I was thinking more along the lines of two nights at one of those new hotels that have an indoor water park. In fact, one in Frankenmuth Michigan. It is close enough to drive, I would love to go to the Christmas store, it has been years since I had that marvelous chicken dinner (and the cranberry relish, the CRANBERRY RELISH!), and DD would absolutely love the water park part. I left a note in DH's lunch box about it. He just called. He has NO days off. They are on partial layoff. Only certain lines are down, and these layoffs don't usually affect DH much. However, there is nobody to replace him so he can't take any days next week. He figured we could go on the week-end. Sure. If we want to spend double per night. Grrrr. So now, not only do I have no place for DD to go, there is nothing special planned at all. Great. She was supposed to be going to a march break camp at a local community center, but they cancelled due to lack of registration. Then she was going to go to a gymnastics camp sorta thingy, but they had to give first dibs to girls in the program already and she didn't make it in. DH said MIL could take her. Yeah, right. Even if she could, and I didn't have to work around the hair appointments and whatnot, no way will DD go there. I am not spending two hours screaming at her every morning, and then dragging her out the door like a lifeless carcass. I can only take two days off next week, and she is too needy to just be home while I am working. Not sure what I am going to do. I have knitted absolutely nothing since the baby alive clothes. I need to re-organize my supplies. I don't have a proper needle roll, and the plastic bags I had them in are starting to give way. My crochet hooks are everywhere, patterns are all out of order. There are little shrines of yarn piled here and there in every room of the house. It has to be cleaned up. My yarn baskets are fine, but they only hold the yarn itself. I need a better storage solution for the rest of it. I might have to go container shopping. Once that is done I will start on that silk tank for myself. The house in general needs an overhaul. The living room carpet can stand cleaning again. Everything needs dusting. My desk area is atrocious (I can't believe the mess I work in every day. I am ashamed of myself) and in general this entire room needs decluttering. DD's toy room is a mess again, and the workout room is getting messy. See, we built a storage area down there. But DH keeps piling things in the doorway instead of putting them on the shelves where they belong. Now the doorway is completely blocked, so he has started piling things in the workout room. He hasn't dared put anything in the laundry room. The last time I tripped on a case of beer in the aisle, that entire thing went into the recycle bin, full bottles and all. It is getting hard to keep the kitchen clean because once again, we have more things than we have room to store. I don't mean items used a few times per year. I am talking daily use items like measuring cups and serving dishes and cookie sheets. Our cereal and snack lineup has increased, taking valuable space that used to be devoted to other things. It is time to pull everything out of the cupboard and re-organize once more. But I don't wanna do it! Hey. Maybe next week I can put DD to work ;).

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Talk about motivation!

I am sure I have mentioned before, that my darling doctor has requested that I spend one hour each day walking. And seeing as the weather has not been nice and it is not safe for a limper such as myself to walk on snow and ice, that means treadmill. And I suppose I have mentioned that at approximately the half hour mark, I start dragging a leg and hoping for death. I may have worded that differently but the fact remains. Try as I might to pass that 30 minute mark, I just couldn't seem to do it. Between mental boredom, physical strain, and the ability to only concentrate on "Lift leg, drop leg, roll foot, lift leg, drop let, roll foot" for so many minutes in a row before forgetting and almost falling off, 30 minutes was my max. Then I had a lightbulb moment. If I had something to take my mind off what I was doing (while still being brainless enough to that I could do my mental leg maneuvers), maybe I could at least make that half hour not so sucky. We have the tv and VCR/DVD combo down there, all I needed was something to watch. During a stroll through Best Buy on the way to get some cables, I saw the first season collection of America's Next Top Model. I had never seen the first season. And it was more than I would normally just drop on something just for me, but I figured it was worth it if it made my daily walks tolerable. Well, not only did it work, but I made FORTY FIVE MINUTES last night. That is one whole episode without special features, thanks to no commercials. And I think I technically could have gone longer, but there is a heat vent right above the treadmill, and every time it came on I felt like a banana chip in a Ron Popeil food dehydrator. I think my brain shrunk a few sizes. As for the walking, it was a nice distraction. And if you want motivation for getting fit, stand there bulging out of your exercise shorts watching skinny little things moan about their thighs (shah, right) while prancing around in bikinis during a photo shoot. Seeing a girl that is almost six feet tall almost cry because she weighs 125 is a little nausea enducing, until you realize that HEY. Guess what? No matter what we look like, we all have the same hang ups. And by the way, if I never see a group of women get bikini waxes at the same time again that would be fine, thanks. I have been craving pasta salad, but really, I am not supposed to have it. So I healthied it up a bit just to get past that craving. I used about 1/4 the amount of whole wheat bow ties (okay. They were leftover from dinner last night) and upped the veggies. So instead of mostly pasta with a few veggies, it was mostly veggies with some pasta. Red and yellow peppers, celery, thinly sliced carrot, and three lonely kalamata olives chopped very fine. I threw in a cup of chickpeas that had been marinated in lemon juice, onion and garlic. The sauce was 2 tbsp of light Helmans with 2 tbsp greek style yogurt, some lemon juice, alpine herbs (mint, marjoram, basil, parsley, sage, and more but I can't translate the lable ROFL), a touch of sea salt and a few grinds of mixed peppercorns. Tossed that altogether. I figured one cup was a serving, so I have enough for a couple more days. It made a nice lunch (along with a small kiwi fruit and a cup of low sodium tomato broth. What I really wanted was tomato juice but what I had went bad before I could even use it! Grrrr). For dinner we are having chicken and rice, but what I am really excited about is the SALAD. I bought a small frisee lettuce (I think it is more closely related to endive, but that is what the sign said so who am I to argue?) to mix with some romaine and baby spinach, and toss with some champagne vinegar and olive oil. I splurged on some on-the-vine tomatoes too, and just cannot wait. Such a geek LOL. You should see the happy dance I do for stir fry.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ah, ah ah ah, Baby Alive, baby Alive

Do the disco with us! Don't forget that John Travolta lightning bolt move. Tee hee!

I was supposed to make baby alive outfits for Easter, but DD caught me out so I had to give it to her now. Because, you know, I am not, like, the Easter bunny or anything so if I made it how can she get it for easter? Sheesh, parents are so silly sometimes ;).

I did not use a pattern. Most of the dress is knitted. I did a seed stitch band to go around the chest, then did a row of twisted stitch ribbing (knit in back loop, purl, across). Then switched to garter and did some increase rows to make the skirt ruffle. I would do one row, knit in front and back loop of every 5th stitch, then knit the next row with no increases, then increase again, and so on. When it seemed as long as I wanted, I did a row of K1, YO across, then knitted this row to make eyelets. Knitted across one more time, then bound off. This was knitted flat because I didn't want to use DPN's due to the increases (I drop stitches if there are too many shoved onto the needles) and my 16 inch circular was simply too long for a 10.5 inch circumference. The sleeves were knitted separately and are a band of seed stitch a few rows deep, then a row of that ribbing, and garter with increases again for a ruffle. I did the eyelets (k1, yo across, ending with a K1), knit two rows, then bound off. After trying it on the doll, I realized the seed stitch band hit perfectly in the back, but technically was too low in the front. Babies should not flash their boobies, so I added a double crochet ruffle just to the front.

The booties are crochet, and again, no pattern. I chained 7, then sc in each chain, chained 2, then sc back down the other side of the chain again, followed by another chain 2 at the end and joined. Then sc around until it was long enough to cover the toes and instep. Double crocheted across the back, single crochet across the front to shape the heel. Then sc around again. The last row is DC, so that I could thread in a crocheted chain to lace the booties on. The diaper cover is crocheted as well, again with no pattern. I just used the tape measure (and held it against the doll periodically), making increases or decreases to get the shape I wanted. It was crocheted in the round to the gusset, and I used decreases to shape the gusset. Once it was long enough I joined to the other side of the panty using slip stitches. The last step was to add a ruffle along the leg openings - simply 3dc in each space around. Since this was the "edge", you have to get creative about what is a "space". The hat was a spare that I had lying around. I made it for one of DD's friends but it was too small, so I made a new one. It looks hilarious and yet adorable on baby alive, so hers it is.

I will use the same sort of method to make a dress for my niece's doll. The hardest part is making sure the band is not too wide. Even after swatching in seed stitch, I still had to rip and start over because it was too wide the first time. DD wasn't too pleased that I made the undie covers to fit over the diaper, so they didn't fit right without. She wants me to use sock yarn to make baby alive some "underoos" now. She also wants her own ear flap hat and it is time she had another sweater, don't I think? Cardigan this time please. I think I have created a knitted monster ;).

Notice the pictures? I got a new camera! A Kodak something or other, and it was on sale. It has a real zoom, which I love love love. DH was a bit depressed, that my "cheapie" camera is technically better than the house camera. He suggested I take that camera and we could use this new one for "family photos". I told him to shove off. I never get the new and better thing. He wanted nothing to do with a new camera, didn't want to look at them with me or read the details or help make the choice or pay for it. You don't want involvement, then fine. Hands off my camera, dude.