Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My neighbors have chickens and also two roosters

Need I say more? Don't worry, I will.

When we first bought the house almost 10 months ago, we had seen it mostly in the daytime and in the early evening. Completely disregarding the common advice to come by the house at night to see the noise levels, we went ahead and got the house. I remember as we were moving a few of our things and cleaning supplies over that night, some college kids in the house behind us seemed to be having a loud party.

I was freaking out. "This is awful. What if it's always like this? I can't believe I didn't think to come here at night before - especially being in a college neighborhood!"

My husband was more sane. He pointed out that it was a Friday night and it was only around nine. My brain refused to be deterred by his reason and I continued to freak out for the rest of the hour that we spent cleaning everything inside the house, which had been empty for some time and had a delicious layer of mildew over pretty much everything.

After cleaning, we went back to the place we were renting and got some sleep. Saturday was the big move and with the in-law's help, we were able to get the majority of our belongings moved over with their truck and my Sebring. I was much too exhausted from packing and moving that evening to worry about any parties and the noise they might create. I fell asleep on our floored mattress (the bed had broke in the move).

The morning was heralded by roosters.

At first, as I woke up confused and slightly annoyed, I couldn't make out what kind of noise I was hearing. It didn't sound like a dog; it definitely wasn't a cat; squirrels could make some weird noises but that wasn't it either and I knew it wasn't (most likely) a horse given the size of the yards in the neighborhood.

My husband, now also awake, listened with me. In the relative otherwise silence of the moment, we realized that the noise was a rooster. Or two. Their crows sounded as though it took their last rooster breath to form each crow. We were unsure whether they were letting us know the sun was coming up or whether they were honestly dying.

10 months later, I can assure you that they are not dying.

We had friends over one evening some time ago and when one of them heard the roosters, she paused and asked about the odd noise. Once we explained that our neighbors kept roosters and pointed out the tops of the chicken coops that you could just see over their large privacy fence, she looked puzzled. "I've never heard that noise come out of a rooster before. Are they dying?"

"If only."

Monday, August 29, 2011

I really like sushi

I love sushi.

Sadly, this isn't a picture of recently eaten sushi but rather sushi that I had once.

I was going to write about my introduction to sushi but this picture is making me crave sushi too much. So I'll come back to this tomorrow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The epic puppy fights

Just as soon as I typed that title out, I figured I'd better begin by stressing that these are play fights and have nothing to do with football or blood or anything else involved in illegal and cruel dog fighting activities.

Paranoid? Yeah, maybe a little.

My goal for this morning (oh wait, it's the afternoon already? Well, look at me accomplishing my afternoon goal first thing!) is to attempt to describe what it's like to watch my puppies play fight. As you might know, they are (full grown) tiny dogs. Sophie is about 5 lbs and Sherlock, around 10. They get along well and sleep cutely in a pile when it is cold outside. But they also wrestle each other for fun, and watching that is more amusing than eating funfetti cake.

It starts with the tentative paw swipe. Sophie is usually the aggressor, but Sherlock will lead on occasion. Sophie quickly closes the distance between the two, perhaps with a tiny dog growl, and then goes for the throat.

It doesn't take long for her to realize that her tiny little mouth will never fit around Sherlock's neck, so she tries to squirm around him and goes for an ankle. Sherlock counters by moving his leg up and then pawing at Sophie as he attempts to go for the throat.

He doesn't make it either. Sophie employs her favorite defensive maneuver and flops onto her back and starts kicking upwards. This pretty much puts her ankles in Sherlock's vicinity and he takes the opportunity, attempting to latch on to a squirmy Sophie leg.

Like a bug on her back, Sophie squirms to the left and then to the right as though she is trying to flip herself back over. After hours of observation, I have determined that this is a ploy. When she goes to the side and Sherlock ducks down, following her paws, she springs back onto her back in a calculated move. You can almost hear her thinking, "Look. My paw was there. Now it is here. Now it is over here. I will keep moving my paw to avoid losing this fight."

This, despite the fact that she's technically the one pined to the ground. Oh, Sophie.

Some minutes will go by in their back and forth brawl. My favorite part is when they start to get tired. Then, as long as they think no one is looking, they'll both lie next to each other, their mouths around each other's ankles, making the most minimal movements possible. If I crane my head to see it better and they notice me, it's like a shot of espresso.

"Back to level 7 insanity," thinks Sophie and she flips back onto her back and starts squirming anew. Repeat forever.

By the way, I think that's the first time I've made use of my insanity chart here. As a brief overview, the Insanity Chart refers to how much crack it appears that our puppies have ingested. For those without small dogs and especially without terriers, let me assure you that small dogs and ESPECIALLY terriers, are very energetic.

So my husband and I have taken to assigning the various levels of insanity to their energy. Typically the dogs hover around level 5. But at certain times, bouncing off of the walls every time someone looks at them isn't good enough. They must tear across the hallway as though they are being chased by hot lava or perhaps scary carpet monsters. They jump on and off of the couch and the armchair seventeen million times in a row. They shake their tiny puppy toys into a blur of teeth and fur. This is insanity level 10.

The chart pretty much tops out there since to run any faster would require doggie steroids and we are a performance-enhancer free family. But one time, Sophie went to insanity level 11. That, however, is a story for another day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Better introduce the puppies as I am sure they'll make another appearance

I should note that as I'm trying to write this post, my puppies keep bringing their toys to me for me to throw, even though we played catch for 10 minutes straight before I sat down to write. It's never enough! Ok, wait, now they're play fighting with each other, so I'll type quickly. Allow me to introduce you to Sophie and Sherlock:

Sophie thinks I'm crazy.
Taking pictures of Sherlock sleeping in cute spots is kinda my new hobby.
Growing up, my family often had pets. And although we did get our golden retriever puppy, Casey, from a pet store, most of our pets found us. Foxy was a Shiba Inu stray that I very nearly ran over when she darted across a busy street by my house. Tagless and dirty, I called around the pound, the police station and the local pet shelters to see if anyone had reported her missing. After months with no response, Foxy had taken up with our family quite well. She got along with Casey and loved "singing" along with us during happy birthdays. (In case you didn't know - Shiba Inus yodel more than they bark).

Foxy was perhaps not the most original name but gosh darn it, she was cute.
Our vet was unable to place her age exactly, but she was older than Casey. She was also the start of our puppy size decline; Foxy was about half of Casey's size. When Foxy passed, we stayed as a one dog family for some years until another dog found us. My sister's friend's neighbor's hairdresser's dog to be exact. I believe the story was that the hairdresser had moved to a place that didn't allow dogs and was looking for a good home for her dog. Or something to do with allergies? The point is, my family became the proud owners of a malty-poo named Gucci.

Gucci LOVED chilling at the lake up north.
Gucci was about four when we got her, and she's been a sweetheart since. I really appreciate knowing that we've been able to give these dogs a loving home - especially growing up, as I am one of five siblings, so there was always more than enough attention for our dogs.

And I guess that's why it doesn't surprise me that in less than a year after I married my husband, we ended up with two wonderful, loving dogs of our own. I do admit, since we both work full time, we did not end up taking in a third dog that some coworkers were planning on getting rid of; sadly, I know that taking in that dog at this point in my life wouldn't be beneficial to the dog. But in the future, I hope to continue our pet tradition.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tonight's Raid Night!

Today is a pretty important day. It was my last day at my now old job and tomorrow will be my first day at a new job. Also, despite my two-day rant on the Sebring, someone came and looked at it and might be buying it for serious! He said that he used to have one and liked how it handled. How cool is that?

Well, Thursdays are also raid night on World of Warcraft! The husband and I sit down with our guild (8 other people who are online with us) and get stuff done. I was looking over my old pictures and found this one from two years ago:

That's me on the right and my husband on the left. But as I said, that picture is over two years old now so we've changed some. I've got a cuter dress. And my husband now plays a goblin so he's kinda short. You know, WoW is how we met. I think I'll have to write our origin story one of these nights. But in the meantime I wanted to share some other WoW pictures I found that are pretty amusing, even if you don't play the game.

 That's me, around Thanksgiving time - rounding up all the turkeys! (And a skunk). This picture always made me laugh because the turkeys would follow me around in a single file line and then whenever I stopped, they would fan out in a fairly perfect half circle. None of them cared about the skunk!

Around Easter time, Easter eggs start popping up around the grass in game. They're fun to pick up and they have virtual candy, dresses and other such Easter items. And the way these two Tauren were staring each other down, I couldn't help but add some dialogue. It was, uh, funny to me at the time. And ok, I'll admit that I half laughed when I saw it in my picture archives.

Well, that's really all the time I've got for now. Raid starts in 9 minutes and I have tacos to eat and iced tea to drink. Here's hoping that tomorrow is awesome.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The non-convertible Sebring. Part Two.

Recently, having been able to upgrade to a significantly better car, I've been trying to sell the Sebring. I opened a craigslist post and began typing out the good things about the car - about how the now completely mice-free a/c cools things down quickly. How the seats are leather and the drivers seat is a power seat. The new tires. And that thanks to my having a relatively short drive between college and home, the car only has about 89,000 miles. These are all great things, yes.

But in the back of my mind, I felt like I was cheating. Driving a Sebring is an experience that given the choice, many will choose never to have again. This was basically my first car, so until recently, I thought that my legs going numb after a half hour of driving was just the way cars worked. And that if I didn't stretch before an hour long trip, my back would go numb too.

Then my husband and I got a Corolla and suddenly I learned that driving didn't have to be a painful experience. (Although the Corolla is manual, so there's a whole lot of back story there too). In the Sebring, there's no such thing as a 3-point turn. If you have four uninterrupted lanes of traffic, you can pull off a 5-point turn and on residential streets, you're going to hit a curb no matter how hard you try. U-turns were unheard of, unless you felt like making one from the right turning lane of your current direction to the right shoulder of the other direction. What I'm trying to impart here is that the Sebring turns like an full size van and that's being unfair to the van. My husband used to drive a full sized van and a box truck for work and after driving the Sebring, he insisted that both handled better than it. That seemed harsh but after watching him make a 3-point turn in the van, I had to concede defeat.

Unsurprisingly, I have yet to sell the Sebring. I don't mind. It was my first car and there's some sentimental value. Plus, it costs next to nothing to insure given that its KBB value is around $3,000 at the time of this post. Not to mention I'm still learning to drive manual and when I have to drive somewhere with a lot of hills, I like having a back up option. (If you've never driven manual, when you go to get into first gear on a hill, you roll backwards until you give the car gas. It's unnerving the first few times. The first hundred few times. Maybe always; I don't know yet).

So in any case, if you're looking to buy a car in the panhandle region, I've got a Sebring you might like. Hit me up.
And it's so shiny, you'll reflect trash cans!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first car, the non-convertible Sebring. Part One.

The bringer of the sea. And death.
 I am the oldest of the five kids in my family. You might think that this age benefit comes with perks, but you'd be wrong. The keyboard that I am typing on, for example, is mine only because no one else in my family liked typing on it except me. So I got to use it and since it hasn't died yet, I still have it (going on over a decade, I think).

This method of accepting what others don't want is how I ended up with my Sebring. The Sebring started out on some car lot, happily awaiting the day that someone would purchase it; blissfully unaware that almost no one wanted a non-convertible Sebrings. A non-convertible Sebring is kind of like a unicorn except possibly more rare. Luckily, my great aunt decided that she would like a non-convertible Sebring and acquired the car in 1997.

She used the car some, but not much, and eventually it was a full time feature of her garage for the better part of a decade. Now, as I mentioned, I'm the oldest of five and there are not many years between us. So when I was eligible to drive, that meant my other siblings wouldn't be far behind. My great aunt graciously offered our family the Sebring. (Little did she know that my next youngest sister and brother would decide not to pursue their drivers licenses!)

The car needed some work. After so long in storage, mountains of mice had gotten a foothold in all areas of the engine and the doors, living their tiny mice lives like kings off of the air filters. Their presence was announced in ways that were less than pleasant - for example, turning on the A/C led to the expulsion of bits of mice nest and droppings, rather than cold, fresh air one might expect.

My dad has always been the awesome, work on cars kind of dad, so he set to work cleaning out the engine and removing the door panels to work on rewiring the sound system of the car. If you've ever take a moment to look at the wires of a car, you'll see that they come in multiple colors, much like a plastic rainbow. Throughout the years, we've come to learn that mice like to chew on orange wires the best.

Ready to hit the open roads of suburban paradise!
 Thanks to my dad's careful and patient work, the Sebring was ready to be driven like a normal car once more. The only problem was that no one wanted to drive it. My dad would, but he didn't care for how it handled (more on that in Part Two) and my mom hated how the steering wheel was so low that it jammed into her legs, even when the wheel was in its "uppermost" potion. As mentioned about, my next two siblings in line didn't even end up getting their licenses at 16 and I don't think it's a stretch to say that faced with the option of driving the Sebring, they chose the suddenly very rational option of not driving at all. As for me? Well, the Sebring was the car I learned to drive in. But more importantly, no one else - in the world - wanted it and that made the Sebring the perfect car for me. You might think I'm joking about this, but the next time you're outside, keep an eye out for non-convertible Sebrings and just tell me how many you see!

Tomorrow: The Joys of Driving a Sebring!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ok, some reasons to read my blog!

I guess it won't get me anywhere to say why I am not qualified to become a famous blogger so after thinking about it for awhile, I've managed to come up with a few compelling reasons why you should stick around and read for awhile:

1. I recently celebrated my one year anniversary with my husband. That's not the exact reason though. The exact reason is that I got married when I was 21, so the statistics are very much against our staying together for multiple years. So, read this blog and watch us defy the odds! (Or be crushed by statistics, but I'm feeling good so far!)

2. Reading my blog might prove one day to have scientific benefits that are currently unknown. You can get in for the first trial just by spending a few minutes each day checking out what I have to say! And then when something good happens, like your hair becomes shinier or your acne goes away, or anything positive really, you'll know that it was from reading my blog.

On the opposite side of that, it is important to note that anything negative that happens in your life is most definitely not from reading my blog and if bad things are still happening, try reading harder. Let me know - we'll work it out!

3. I once registered sweepstakes for a living so I can give non-legal advice on, uh, registering sweepstakes. Just in case you've ever wondered about it.

I know, I know - none of these reasons offer immediate benefits (unless you suddenly really have to register a sweepstakes). They do require some patience. But I can tell that you're the kind of person who has the patience to wait because you know eventually it'll pay off with shinier hair. Or something.

Ok, well I just had to get some good reasons out there. I'll let you know if I think of any more.

A few reasons why I am probably not going to be a famous blogger

I'll get right to the point on this one. Here are a few reasons why I can never be a famous blogger, based on famous blogs that I read:
1. I am absolutely horrible at staying up late. I mean, I often go to bed around 10 each night, except on special occasions, and then I go to sleep as late as 11! I think there is a connection between being a night owl and having the creativity needed to be a famous blogger. I sadly do not seem to have this connection.

2. I am good at many things but not excellent at one thing. Famous bloggers? They got there because they can do something (or a couple somethings) really dang well. I can sew a little; I can write and draw a little; I can take care of animals reasonably well; I can bake a tasty cake - but I don't excel at any of these, so while I'm sure I can offer a tip or two, I don't have the expertise to really shine amidst those who do.

2.1 (As a counter point - I do excel at one thing: writing really, really long sentences because I'm a huge fan of semi colons and I hate using periods. But I'm not sure that there's an audience for people who like writing really long sentences for fun.)

3. I don't have a good camera. Famous bloggers tend to have pictures on their blog. I'm either going to have to learn to draw better or find a new cheap camera, because my current one only takes clear pictures at noon with all of the lights on and even then, preferably with the object I want to take a picture of on fire.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Introduction or, more accurately, why I am procrastinating vacuuming

Despite the fact that the two dogs I currently own - a Pomeranian and a Yorkie - are roughly the sizes of really large guinea pigs, they manage to shed an impressive amount of fur. To be fair, the Yorkie doesn't actually shed, so I guess I should express my disbelief that a 5-lb Pomeranian can shed so much fur that I could make a decent sized rug or over sized sweater out of said sheddings.

Since making Pomeranian-based garments is not one of my goals for the immediate future, I attempt to keep the fur levels under control by vacuuming regularly. The only problem is that when it is really warm outside - and thusly, warm inside since I try to keep the A/C use at a minimum - I don't want to vacuum because it will only make the rooms warmer. So I thought to myself that maybe I'd start writing something.

"After all," I said to my puppies, who looked at me attentively, "If I'm writing, I can count that as being productive and then I won't feel bad about not writing." My small speech thusly ended, the puppies looked very disappointed that the words I spoke did not equate to them getting a treat or a bonus walk.

Abandoning the vacuum in the dining room, I went and sat down at my desk and began brainstorming ideas about what to write about. The process was very slow.

I kept telling myself, "Just start writing something because even if there's a chance no one will read it, it is scientifically guaranteed that no one can read nothing." So then I spent a long time worrying about the name of the blog instead, until I came up with something that sounded wittier than it is and then I started writing a post.

Writing a post also went slowly. Being confronted with the overwhelming notion that nothing I can think or say hasn't already been said before makes me lock down. I tell myself it's ok not to write a thought down because it's probably not interesting enough. Because I have a feeling that if I looked online, at least 10 million other people have thought this too.

Somehow, I have soldiered on past those feelings by realizing that as long as no one reads what I write here, I can say whatever I want! What a great thought. Well, except for the conflicting thought that it'd be great if people read this. So, uh, I'll deal with those contradictory feelings in the future!