Saturday, January 28, 2006

40 MPH Couch Potato

You asked...I hope I delivered

I took a few pictures of my 'needlenose', looking like the princess she is, in her royal purple coat. Although, I know of no princesses that can clear a room with flatulence like Julieta. She lives up to the greyhound reputation of being gas passers. Go ahead, laugh. She gives new meaning to the words "Silent, but deadly". I have the dubious pleasure of sharing sleeping quarters with this wind breaking wonder. I've been woken from sleep by the stench on two occasions. It's as bad as when the skunks pass by my open bedroom window on a summers eve.

She was in a playful mood Friday night, laying on the couch. She throws her head back with mouth wide open, a low groan emanating from her throat. I take the bait and start vigorously rubbing her belly. Bad idea. I was sitting directly behind her and actually felt the couch vibrate with the loud FFFFFFttttTT! Her head and ears immediately pricked up and looked at me, as if I had made the strange noise.

Why is it her audible farts don't smell?

I totally digress though. I didn't intend to write a post about doggie flatulence. It's really the only complaint I have about my noble lady (Yes, even ladies fart). It's not even a real complaint, it's a small quirk of this lovable soul that I have the pleasure of sharing my life with.

She makes me laugh every single day and has brought so much joy to my life. I know she loves me too. She demonstrates this, by doing a happy dance & humping my leg enthusiastically when I arrive home from work. My son was a little freaked out by this. At first, he protested "But, SHE"S A GIRL!". Now, he just shakes his head and says we have a gay dog.

Her favorite sleeping spot is on the couch, of course. She can curl up into a small ball or stretch out and take over the whole thing. She loves to squeeze behind my legs and rest her head on my hip, when I lay on the couch to watch TV. It's become an unconscious habit to constantly pet & scratch her ears in this position. She enjoys it so much, she gets upset and antsy if I sit in the recliner instead of on the couch. She will bug me by standing, staring and whining at me until I move to the couch to "cuddle". I think this behavior is the result of spending her entire life in a crate next to other greyhounds without being able to touch.

She is one of the most intelligent breed of dogs I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have taught her how to "speak" (it took an hour to teach her). She will, reluctantly, get off the couch when told. She's learning how to "whine" (a low roooooooing without barking). If I spent more time on training, I am sure she would be sitting, laying down & probably a few other tricks by now. We'll get to that eventually.

She conveys her desires by responding to verbal questions. When she starts giving signals that she has to go out, I ask if she has to "go potty". She with respond with a loud bark. Mention the word "walk" and she'll start poking me with her nose. It's almost as bad as having a 3 year old child around. We've actually started spelling words when we don't want her to know what we are talking about. Seriously, I ask my son on Saturday mornings if he wants to take the dog for a W-A-L-K, so she doesn't get her hopes up if he says no. Bring out the leash and she bounces like a hot rod with hydraulics. Take out the car keys, there she is poking me again, with that sharper than you'd think it was snout. Ask her if she wants to go for a ride in the car, she practically turns herself inside out.

She loves to go for walks and gets very busy sniffing "Pee-mail". She's even responded a few times, which is unusual for a female dog. She's great on the leash, she'll only tug when she's found some irresistible odor. She'll "freeze" and whimper, if she hears a barking dog on our intended course. I chalk it up to her gentle non-confrontational nature, my son thinks she's a wimp. A few encouraging words and she'll cautiously continue her walk.

She doesn't really shed or have a "dog" smell. She almost collapsed the last time I gave her a bath. She became so relaxed in the warm water, her legs actually started giving out.

Fresh snow makes her bound like a gazelle. She loves to burrow her nose in it and run circles around me, only stopping to occasionally crouch in a "you can't get me" pose before taking off in a blur.

She'll fetch and drop toys at my feet when playing in the yard. Fuzzy squeak toys and meat filled rawhides are her favorites. She'll burrow through her toybox looking for a particular stuffed animal or a soggy rawhide.

My parents even commented on how well behaved and unobtrusive she was when we were there for Christmas. She lay on her bed that we brought & set in an out-of-the-way corner, only checking occasionally to make sure we hadn't left without her. She tried lying beside me in the living room. She retreated only because of the scary new robotic vacuum cleaner (Roomba) that kept "chasing" her.

At this point, you are probably rolling your eyes at my enamored gushing. Don't deny it. I bet your eyes are glazing over, just like mine do when you hear new parents describing their infants first poop. I bet you are thinking, "It's just a dog for heavens sake!" But, I'd have to disagree on that point with you.

Greyhounds are bred with one purpose: to race. They are usually bred and raised on farms. Sometime between 4 and 18 months, the potential racers are generally placed in individual kennels where they spend the majority of their time. The rest are destroyed. Potentials are only let out to exercise, train, race, or relieve themselves. They are accustomed to human handling for feeding, training and basic care, and usually receive nothing beyond straightforward and utilitarian contact. Accusations of abuse run rampant throughout the industry. Once they no longer prove fruitful racers, they are retired. Retired racers that are not adopted are destroyed.

I may be venting from my soapbox here, but anyone interested in what kind of life greyhounds are born into can find all the information they need on the internet.

It absolutely amazes me that a dog can some out of such, a so called life, so intact, so eager to please, so willing to love, so gentle. They are elegant, gentle, loving animals who make wonderful companions. Though they are coming from a track into a home, they are amazing dogs and quickly and happily adapt. The more time and patience you give to them, the quicker they learn and give you their allegiance. That cannot be said of many other breeds of dogs. The old saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" doesn't apply to the intelligent greyhound. They don't need years of therapy to get over their upbringing or harbor resentments towards their "parents" mistakes.

In fact, Julieta has demonstrated may puppy-like behaviors: her playfulness, attachment, ability to learn new behaviors/tricks, and eagerness to please. But, I didn't have the drawbacks of potty training or chewing on inappropriate objects. She has been the best of both worlds.

To me, a dog that has led such an initially loveless life deserves all the attention and love I can give. Perhaps, it's just her way of showing how appreciative she is to finally have a loving home or maybe it's just breeding. Whatever it is, she's the best dog I have ever had the pleasure of sharing space with. I feel,I have received so much more than I have given.

If anyone reading this has been thinking about getting a dog, please consider adopting a greyhound. I now completely understand why greyhound adoptees usually end up with more than one! If I had the room, time, and the means, I would too.

That said, I am sure you can completely understand my willingness & pride in creating handmade clothing for my pet. Hence, my previous picture posts. Greyhounds have little fat and insufficient coats to keep warm in cold weather. Julieta likes the "non" designer label of a warm coat a lot more than my son ever would. Hell, he'd be embarrassed wearing anything "handmade".

So, maybe Julieta seemingly appreciates my effort and that's why I am more than willing to sew girlie girl clothing for her. Maybe, it's because I feel she was so deprived early in life. Maybe, it's because I know she won't grow into an ungrateful, backtalking teenager. Maybe, I'm trying to make up for my perceived inadequacy as a mother. Maybe, I get a small thrill out of the jealousy my son shows at the attention the dog gets and hope he will appreciate Mom and all she does for him, at least a little bit. Maybe, I'm just another one of those wingnuts that treats a pet like a child and likes to dress them up. Maybe, I just want my blog readers to ask me for pictures of my hysterically dressed pet.

Maybe, I just love my dog and want her to be happy. Of course, only at the expense of her being fashionable & utterly adorable.

Now, where is that pattern for fur trimmed booties that make her look like a hooker?

Oy Vey!

Don't Look at me!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to digitally photograph a running greyhound?

Wanna Play?!

A homemade coat for warmth

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I made a new coat for Julieta over Christmas break. It's a flowered purple velvet with a hot pink fleece lining. Just the thing to keep my needle nose warm & fashionable during the colder New England weather. I also made a purple velvet snood, when worn, makes her look like a little old lady.

I showed my son some PICs of faux fur trimmed go go booties to protect a greyhounds tender footsies.

He took one look and simply stated "She'll look like a prostitute wearing those and if you make them, I won't take her for a walk anymore"

How the hell does he know what a prostitute looks like?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Denial ain't a river in Egypt

I had an eye exam last night. It's been a couple years and I needed a new prescription to order replacement contact lenses. Lately, I've noticed that I see better up close without my glasses on. It's a fact I've tried to ignore and not consciously admit. I've pretended not to notice. I've tried to forget it (Where is that selective memory loss when you need it?). I've poo-pooed it. I've tried to convince myself that maybe my eyesight has just improved.

It hasn't worked.

That naggy voice inside my head just won't shut up. She keeps taunting me. You're getting old lady! Your eyes are showing your age! Go away. The eyes are the first thing to go, just you wait. You'll see. Next, you'll start feeling aching in your joints. Arthritis will kick in. Shut up! You're gonna get all wrinkly and OLD. Yea? Bite me, bitch.

After all the "put your chin here so I can shine a bright light in your eye to blind you" business, he broke the news gently. My distance vision hasn't really changed, but, my up close vision has.

I could hear that witch chuckling. He's gonna say it.Shhh! You're gonna look like an old woman. You know, like the ones at the senior center with the glasses hanging on beaded chains resting on their sagging breasts. QUIET YOU! Or, you'll have that hideous line right in the middle of the lenses that shouts OLD! Stifle yourself!

The Docs voice came back into focus just in time to hear that word.


She roared. I cringed.

The optimist in me came out. It really isn't all that bad. I could get bifocals, but it's not a necessity...Yet. Glasses have come a long way, and you can get bifocals with no line or a practically invisible line. Even if I got them, the reading portion of them would be like window glass - no prescription. Chew on that, whench. I could just continue what I have been doing and remove my glasses when I need to see up close. I can get the lowest power reading glasses at the drugstore for when I am wearing contacts. Eventually, I will have to get bifocals. But, not today.

I had the last laugh. She, had nothing more to say.

We then proceeded on to the second portion of the exam, where he dilated my pupils and put the yellow dye in. Everything checked out fine.

I tried to pick out new frames but couldn't focus well enough to choose. The ride home was a trip. It was dark by the time I left. Lights looked like kaleidoscopic starbursts. Bright headlights hurt, and practically blinded me. It took concentrating on the road directly in front of me to get home.

I was starting to feel pretty crappy by the time I got there. Sore throat, stuffy head. I'm home sick today. Great. I get sick just in time for the weekend.

For the moment, I've postponed one of the many inevitable betrayals my body will make as time goes by. I'll take it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Little Late

but I promised some Christmas pictures  
 Posted by Picasa

It beats the buzzer

I have a new alarm clock, it went off this morning:


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Calling Acme Travel Service

Ever want to just run away? I mean, far, far away? That's how I'm feeling.

I'm sure it's typical of the post holiday period. You feel a little overwhelmed financially - Did my kid really need 5 new video games, clothes, movies..etc? You feel a little depressed that all the excitement is past. We have to wait until February for the next holiday, and that's Valentines day for cripes sake. The most overrated holiday ever, promoted by florists everywhere for poor unsuspecting men everywhere, cause God help you if you don't bring her something on Valentines Day. It's a holiday I just ignore - being single and all. Those of you that will chime in and say that we just had Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Whoopdefriggindoo. Not that it isn't an important day to recognize his significance in our history, but you don't decorate or have dinner with the family for it.

Bring on Saint Patty's day! Green beer for everyone I say! Now there's a holiday. A day devoted to celebrating your Irish heritage and getting blitzed. Everyone is Irish on St. Patricks Day.

There, I've found my silver lining. Something to look forward to. Something to practice for! Not that I need any practice drinking! Not that I need anymore reason to drink either!

The kid is driving me right up a wall. (How's that for a segue?) I always give him chores to do when he gets home from school. No sense leaving all that free time to get into trouble. Problem is he's been giving me shit about it, whining even.
I thought about that all the way home from work. When I got in, I burst into his room and announced: Since he hadn't joined any extracurricular sports and he's giving me such a hard time about chores after school, he needs to get a job for after school. He's to go and see his guidance councilor and find out if he needs working papers and if there are any jobs posted there. He needs to find someplace that the bus system stops near so he can get there and I'll pick him up after work. I promptly closed the door.

He comes out and grabs the phone so he can call his father and tell someone, anyone, how I, out of the blue, burst into his room and tell him to "get a job". He's not far off either, I have to admit. I actually laughed when he re-enacted my rant. It must have seemed pretty irrational behavior.

Bottom line: Mom needs a break from kid before she totally loses her mind.

Hello, Acme Travel Service? "Get me outta here!"

Hows that Kfarmer? Tis good to be missed.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Break Over

I've taken a longer than anticipated break from blogging.

I had a post all typed out last week when freaking Firefox decided to have a heart attack before I could save my work. Lost it all....

I went back to work last Thursday after a 12 day vacation.
What did I do on vacation you ask?

Not a friggin' thing. Became one with the couch, bonded with the dog, burned a few IQ points watching the idiot box. Seriously, do you have any idea of what watching 3 consecutive 8 hour days of SeaQuest DSV does to your brain? No, how about an entire season of The Biggest Loser in one sitting? It wasn't pretty. Some days I didn't shower or brush my teeth until 3 PM!

I know, I know. I could have blogged. Could have, should have....But didn't. I should have worked on my much overdue Give Away Of Crap story. But I didn't, and I'm not sorry. Well, maybe a little guilt. But, I stayed completely away from the computer other than two nights where I had a couple drinks and major Magazine Man withdrawal. Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right. Replace with: Magazine Man writing withdrawal. I needed a good laugh and wasn't disappointed.

It actually felt good to not have to do something, not have to be somewhere. A definite recharging of the batteries, so to speak.

It's good to be back to work though. 12 days 24/7 with a teenager is a hell in and of itself.