Saturday, January 28, 2012

I can't even write a title to my blog post!

Yikes. I have a few things I want to write about - my house being a lizard hotel, for example, or the one time I was employee of the month mostly because the person they wanted to be employee of the month hadn't worked there long enough yet. I think about these topics and try to write funny statements and then when it comes time to actually sit down and write, I can't do it.

I'm not sure why I have this mental block right now, but it's a lot worse than it has been before when I tried to write. I sit down with plenty of free time to write and then find myself jumping up almost instantly - oh, I could go get started on laundry early or you know, those lunch dishes probably should be washed right now. And even though we won't go grocery shopping for two more days, I should probably start the list. Heck, it's been what? Two weeks since I bathed the dogs? Maybe Sophie needs to practice her crazy eyes. And you know what I really think is fun anyhow? Dusting. I should probably go dig out my duster. I think it's, you know, somewhere.

And then before I know it, I'm up and away from my computer, doing anything but writing. This past month has been somewhat busy and I guess I've been anxious about what is to come this year, but the main point I want to make is that I do want to continue to share stories and my ideas here and I'll continue to try, and I'm sorry that I'm not doing so with any regularity at this point. February marks the start of my sixth month of blogging and if I want to become world famous in two years, I have to stay on track. So in the meantime, here is a totally non-funny picture of a lizard. Enjoy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sick puppies are not happy puppies

I first suspected something was not right when I knelt down to clip Sophie's leash to her tiny puppy harness. Sophie jumped in my lap, turned her back towards me and then straight up began to pee all over me. I had a moment of intense anger - why would my dog do this to me? I also had a moment of crazy logic - Ok, I want to hit her, but then she'll just go and pee over everything and at least now all I have to do is wash my pants. It's like the mess is already cleaned up!

Already leased and standing next to us, Sherlock looked at me cautiously, as if gauging whether it was his turn next. I quickly brought Sophie to her kennel and put her in there so I could change my clothes and we went out a few minutes later with no more accidents.

"Sophie," I said. "Look. I understand that you probably did not mean to do that on purpose but boy am I mad."

Sophie looked at me and wagged her tail eagerly, because it turns out that no matter how mad I am at my dog, I still can't help but talk in a cutesy baby talk voice. I suspect Sophie will never know the truth.

I decided to call it confirmed when after work I went to let the dogs out and before I could unlock the back door, Sophie squatted on the rug in front of the door. I was unsurprised, but shocked. I had just started a new work schedule that allowed me to be home a half hour earlier to let the dogs out. She looked up at me with sad eyes, eyes that seemed to say "please don't hit me. I don't mean this."
Since she had been house trained some years back, I talked with my vet, who suggested catching a sample of Sophie's urine. I then had to ask questions I never thought would come up, like "How in the heck do I catch a dog's urine?"

My vet explained the process, assuring me that it wasn't too hard. "You just get a clean, sterile container - I guess at her size, maybe the lid of a container - and then follow behind her while you take your walk. When she goes to go pee, just kind of swoop it under." She demonstrated and the next morning, walking outside behind Sophie, I practiced the desperately half controlled motion of crouching down to near ground level whilst thrusting a container under my peeing dog.

Sophie was understandable weary. However, I did manage to catch some urine in a clean Publix sushi container. I tossed the lid on it and gave it to Smiley so that he could bring the sample in for testing.

To an extent, I was hoping that Sophie was in fact sick, because the alternative - that she was simply and willfully urinating wherever - seemed ridiculously not cool.

Indeed, the results returned with the news that Sophie had a UTI. The results also returned with a prescription for doggie antibiotics and within days of taking the medicine, Sophie became accident free. And with any luck, I'll be able to catch her retested urine sample with the finesse and ease of, uh, someone who's done it once before.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Touche, TV.

Sometimes, it's not hard to see how the TV and internet are conspiring against me. I present to you the following example:

On Sunday, I mentioned on Facebook that I would host dinner for some friends and that Smiley and I were debating doing a breakfast for dinner event or fancy grilled cheeses. After lengthy discussion and a craving for Smiley's amazing breakfast skillet, I went ahead and confirmed on Facebook that it would be breakfast for dinner.

And then I watched the TV and the only show worth watching was on fancy grilled cheeses. Argh!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chocolate promises can only bring trouble

I am an avid buyer of off-season candy, citing discounted prices as why the chocolate just "tastes better." I mean, what really changes the day after Christmas or Valentine's day that makes the chocolate 50% off except the fact that it is now in seasonally inappropriate packaging.

Let me tell you, having worked in a grocery store for almost five years, I know that there is always a new holiday around the corner that needs the seasonal display space. And so everything else gets clearanced and tossed into a cart or too, or maybe hastily arranged onto a folding table. But this story is not about grocery stores and their holiday policies, although they did play a small part in it. I was able to pick up two little holiday themed boxes of Dove Promises for only five dollars. That's when the trouble began.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with these chocolates, they are the ones that have a little inspirational message inside the wrapper, so that you can enjoy both the chocolate and a shot of mental well being at the same time! Genius.

I am a firm believer that it is never too early to start eating chocolate (I mean, it's chocolate eating time somewhere, right?) and so I woke up the next morning and opened the box, grabbing a piece of milk chocolate candy and carefully unwrapping it, as to preserve the words of wisdom contained within.

"Make every day a holiday."

I looked at the short message printed on the wrapper of my chocolate and thought about it as I ate the small candy in three measured, well-enjoyed bites.

Then I called in to work, to let them know I wouldn't be there on account of the holiday.

"What holiday?" my manager asked. "You mean you want to use your personal holiday?"

"Every day is a holiday," I repeated, "Or at least, I'm going to make it a holiday. I'm pretty sure that Congress will put it on the calender too."

"Well, I'm going to put you down on your personal holiday," my manager said over the phone. "Enjoy your weekend."

"Thanks, you too. Happy as of yet unnamed holiday!"

I hung up the phone and started pondering how best to follow the edict proclaimed by the chocolate wrapper. While pondering, I decided that I probably do my best pondering while I'm eating chocolate, so I carefully and painstakingly opened another chocolate piece. I tore a corner of the wrapper and panicked for a moment until I saw that the words of wisdom remained intact.

"Make time for yourself!" the wrapper practically shouted.

Oh, well, that wasn't too hard. I mean, I didn't have to go to work now, so I already had all the time I needed. Ok chocolate, I thought, I agree. I'll make time for myself.

I sat at my computer for some time, searching the internet for advice on how to make time for myself. I had thought it would be so easy, but as I read webpage after webpage, I started to feel a little overwhelmed. I had never realized how hard it is to make time for yourself. Every time I typed a new search term into my browser, or read another page, I was actually giving up time for myself! This wasn't productive at all. I decided to go back to my previous holiday dilemma.

Vaguely, I remembered back to one of my classes, many moons ago, to a conversation I think I had with a classmate. Or I overhead it. Or I imagined it, conveniently. In any case, I recall hearing something along the lines of, "Did you know that there is actually a holiday every day of the year? It's crazy. I try to celebrate each one in some little way each day."

Gosh, I wish I could remember who said that or if I'm crazy.

In any case, it is true. You can look on the internet if you think I'm crazy. Or even if you don't. For example, today is Blame Someone Else Day. (Also it is Friday the 13th. WoooOOOooo). I was pretty intrigued.

This website had me set. I was ready to print it out to give to my manager as a reason why I needed holiday pay every day. But then I noticed they appeared to have a section about creating your own holidays. I felt it was a sign. After all, my chocolate said to make each day a holiday, not to celebrate holidays that others have already thought off.

But then I read it and found that, in actuality, making a holiday that will be nationally recognized and therefore give me a better chance of not going to work is a lot of hard work. Apparently a "company who wanted to create a national day and had the resources to do it" decided it was "too much work" themselves. And if they were a company! With resources! Then what could I possibly expect for myself?

I sat there for a long minute, dejected, staring at my computer screen. I got up and played with my puppies for a bit and noticed just how much time there was in a day when I didn't go to work. It seemed like too much time. There was time to make for myself and maybe for ten other myselves. It felt overwhelming. I decided the best course of action was to have another chocolate piece. A third wrapper was carefully opened up.

"What if the season to be jolly lasted all year?"

Oh, so now you're posing contemplative questions to me, chocolate? Seriously, I don't need that right now. I don't know what would happen if the season to be jolly lasted all year. Shoot. I guess people would be jolly forever, now wouldn't they? Or they would grow resentful of constantly being in a season of jolliness and therefore revoke ever feeling jolly again and then the word "jolly" would become a shunned, dirty work and then the jolly rancher company would go out of business.

So, no, chocolate, I don't think the season to be jolly should last all year. I think you sound like a Miss America contestant, spouting off nonsense that sounds pretty right until you take two seconds to think about it. I mean, I thought about all of that in one second. Imagine what another second could have lead too.

Or don't.

Shaking my head, I opened a fourth Dove promise. I still had a bite of chocolate left from the third, but I wasn't really on speaking terms with that one. Which meant opening my mouth to eat it was a no-no.

"No one really likes you."

I stared at the wrapper. Turned it over, and looked again. Those odd, hateful words stared back at me. I almost felt a chill run down my spine. Really, chocolate? Way to be overly judgmental. I guess one of the wrappers here is having a bad day. But I wasn't about to let that wrapper bring me down. It was a holiday! I crumpled the offending wrapper and chucked it in the trash. Then I swore vengeance on the wrapper's family. Its brothers, its sisters. Cousins. Whatever. I ate all the chocolate and didn't even bother to look at any more of the wrappers. Between making every day a holiday and finding time for myself at the same time, I felt that my days were straight up booked.

In the end, I got a bit of a stomachache from only eating chocolate all day. But it turned out to be a good thing, because I finally found time for myself as I sat in bed, slightly nauseous and somewhat bored, browsing TV and reading Dilbert comics.

(The preceding story may be embellished).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

As an afterthought

As mentioned yesterday, the puppies have been bathed. Last night, relatedly, Smiley and I ate dinner together. I want you all to picture this scene in our little kitchen.

I'm standing next to the oven, eating a piece of meatloaf, exclaiming my (at the time) very wise thought that meatloaf is merely a conduit for ketchup. Smiley is at the other side of the kitchen with some lettuce he is cutting up for a salad. Keep in mind that our kitchen is small enough that we're still within six feet of each other, easily.

The dogs were at HIS feet, sitting and waiting for lettuce.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Puppy baths

Well, the puppies have been bathed and that's an hour of my life I'll never get back. But, they do smell and look very pretty. And if you've never tried to blow dry a small dog (use the lowest settings), you're missing out on the way they give you the crazy eyes while at the same time marveling over their now (magically) dried fur.

That being said, I'm still working on getting used to tablet-drawing. There is still definitely a disconnect between watching a picture show up on the computer screen while I draw on the tablet. I'm used to seeing lines appear under my hand.

Here is a tablet sketch of me bathing Sophie. Her eyes aren't quite as crazy as I had hoped for, but I think they get the point across. I love that the shower has the detachable shower head because it makes it as easy as possible to bath the dogs.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

As it turns out, I'm really bad at directions

I had driven to the JoAnn's fabric store on my own once before. Which is why when I was traveling there with a friend on Saturday, I was confused to find that I am, in fact, able to drive right past the store and then continue to convince myself that it is, in fact, just a bit further down the road. And that I totally remember that there should be, like, a church. Yeah, like a church or a dojo or maybe an empty strip mall. I'll know when I see it.

My friend graciously waited until we drove ten minutes out of the way with me doing my best to find the magical, mystical second JoAnn's in Tallahassee before pointing out that she has driven to work this way many, many times and that she was ready to do the "I told you so dance" when we turned around and finally made it back to the one and only JoAnn's.

I've been to this fabric shop quite a few times. For Halloween this year, in fact, I went there at least three times to get everything need for mine and Smiley's Halloween costumes. Beyond that, I've went to buy material for our curtains and a few other projects besides. And yet, apparently this is still not enough for my brain to permanently mark JoAnn's on my mental map.

This marks my second year in Tallahassee, in case anyone thought I was still just new to the area. That excuse is quickly fading away.

Some day, I dream of a world where I will manage to navigate through the town in which I live with ease and, perhaps, finesse.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Too cold. Can't function.

Despite being a true Yooper, I don't handle cold very well. Like your basic houseplant that wilts under the first frost, I become rather useless at colder temperatures.

You know how the energy company tells you to set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter to save money on heating? Screw that. I turn my thermostat to 64 when my husband isn't looking just to show them all who's boss. And then walk around wrapped in two blankets.

I also find it faintly amusing that the "heat" coming into the house is actually much, much colder than when I have the air condition on in the summer. It reminds me of that one story where one guy thinks the other guy is crazy for blowing on his hands to warm them up and then blowing on the hot soup to cool it down (the first guy says something along the lines of "how do you make your breath both warm AND cold?"). What, you guys don't know that story? I swear I'm not making it up - I'm just recounting it through the cold haze of my brain misfires is all.

But yeah. That's what having the heater on in the winter is like. It's like blowing on my hands to warm them up. Yeah, my breath is warmer than the air outside but it's not going to cut it. If I were that second guy, I think I'd just stick my hands into the soup. Both problems solved at once.

I wanted to practice drawing on my tablet some, but my soup-free hands are pretty cold and useless, so I have a feeling I might just end up going to bed instead. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 2, 2012

An update on tablet progress!

Day one of tablet drawing was hard. Making a line do what I want and stop and start where I wanted it proved to be an almost insurmountable challenge. I kept thinking that I could draw a line much faster with my mouse and be done with it and why am I making this so much harder on myself?

Day two of tablet drawing saw me making small but marked improvements from the chicken scribble I had previously rendered. I worked on drawing tons and tons of lines, and attempting to corral those lines into a vaguely meaningful structure. Sadly, I also learned that if I don't save my 'drawings,' they will be deleted when I close the program. I know, right? Who would have thought!

Day three. I find my eyes darting from side to side as I sat at my computer. Tablet. Mouse. Tablet. Mouse. I feel almost as though I am betraying my mousing hand. I think of the thousand of mouse-drawn island turtles. The lamb-ourghini. That one picture of the bathroom stalls that many people have told me they found hilarious. I picked up the tablet and attempted to draw a picture for my blog post about how people finally used my guest room. At some point my back mysteriously revolts and sends shooting pains down from my shoulder blades. I stand up to take a break. The current progress of my tablet drawing attempt is all I have to show.