Photo Dumpity Dump

4 Feb

 

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King Cakes, homemade bitches. These are basically giant sweet bready donuts (not THE sweetbread, just bread-overflowing-with-sugar sweet bread). They gave my little standing mixer quite a workout, but they were worth it! The bread had to rise in 85 degrees, so we cranked the heat and closed the bathroom doors and our bread rose on the toilet (in a firmly covered bowl). Hope that’s not gross, because I would do it again (and might, this week!)

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MMMmm, that’s the rolled up innards of toilet-risen sweet bread. Jealous?

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Groundhog Day movie-watching spread! See, half the table is green for spring, and half is white for winter! GET IT??? Man, Groundhog Day is such a great movie. It gets better every time I see it. Top five of the favorite all-time movie list, for sure. And it has awesome food themes, since at least five scenes involve some kind of eating. Flapjacks! Blood sausages! Sweet vermouth with a twist! They just did my job for me! Thanks, Bill Murray.

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Despite what some people may think, those are groundhog eyes, not groundhog boobs.

 

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End of January brought my birthday and Stephen’s birthday, a day apart, as is our birthdays’ wont. It was very chill. Nobody is ever in the mood for celebrating birthdays in the dead of January, when they’re just getting over all the holiday excesses and such, but the lads were way into it. Especially Hugo, as you can tell.

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Stephen’s parents did break out the good bubbly for le birthdays though, which was fantastic. Dom Perignon! Classy!

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 My good college buddy Liz visited with her freshly-fianced-fiance David. That week was frolicsome and full of friendly woodland creatures.

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Yep, that’s about all I got. Or at least all the pictures I feel like mucking around with. Birthday-hatted dogs, friendly crows, psychic rodents. All in a January’s work.

Aside

Onward

4 Jan

Cosmo facejpg

Why, hello there.

I have lots of random photos and stories from the past months that I’ve been meaning to share here, but I haven’t really been in the mood. Not for any real reason, I just feel so busy all the time. GAME OF THRONES IS NOT GOING TO WATCH ITSELF! But I do have things to post. Presents to gloat about. Cakes to show off. Dog shenanigans to share.

Honestly, most of the silence is because I haven’t been taking pictures. Like, at all. We even went on vacation and I took just three photos. It’s trauma from putting together the “slideshow” of my dad to show at his memorial service. Now whenever I take a picture of someone, I think of death. Cheerful, right? Trying to get over that. Till then, enjoy some photos of non-people! And maybe one of Stephen covered in fake blood. Because that doesn’t imply death at all!

First, of course, a doggie update. Hugo has gone from this:

Hugo little (and Cosmo!)

I love when you can see wagging tails in dog pics

To this:

Hugo eats his wheaties. And his poop.

Hugo eats his wheaties. And his poop.

I can’t believe he was that small when we moved in. Or that he was ever small, period. He is huge. Pretty much everyone who meets him makes the same joke of “Hugo? You mean HUGE-o!”

He’s still super goofy, which is wonderful. This

tongue action

. . . became this

I don't even know what he's doing

I don’t even know what he’s doing

Cosmo is also adorable and smoochable, still, of course. SPEAKING of Cosmo:

Cosmo is fancy!

Cosmo is fancy!

I commissioned my amazingly talented friend Karen to paint Cosmo in a suit, and she only laughed in the nicest way, and she did an AWESOME job (this photo really doesn’t do it justice, the lighting in my house is terrible). I absolutely love it. Shot to the top of my “things to save in a fire” list.* And she’s working on one of Hugo! Yep, I have a commissioned portrait of Cosmo wearing a bow tie. And Hugo is going to be wearing a fedora.

The vacation I mentioned was to Portland, to see Bruce Springsteen. It was fantastic. We stayed in a hotel that had a mural of John Lennon’s face on the wall.

everytime I looked at it I thought "oh, PORTLAND"

everytime I looked at it I thought “oh, PORTLAND.” And that is the face Stephen made when I said “look like John Lennon.”

We hung out with my friend Kristi and her dog Steven. That was really fun. If I was normal I would have pictures of the amazing Ethiopian dinner we went to, and Kristi being cute choosing ice cream flavors from the amazing ice cream parlor she took us to, and then MORE pictures of Kristi being cute with Steven. But I’m not normal, so all I have is one blurry phone picture of Steven mid-prance. But he is enough cute on his own.

getting some rump rubs from Kristi

getting some rump rubs from Kristi

Portland rained a lot, (SHOCKING) but we had some great food and it was very chill and relaxing. Also, it’s a town that has orange dog statues, and yes, I really want to move there.

he's even smiling!

he’s even smiling!

The highlight (and the whole point) of the mini-vacay was Bruce. Or, BBRRUUUCCEEEEEE, as he’s known to his fans (that was my facebook status the day after the concert, which was the day we saw Kristi, and she said a bunch of her Portland FB friends had the exact same status. Ha!).

We were in a killer location on the floor. Which you can’t tell at all from this terrible picture I took with my terrible phone. Bruce is jjuussssttt behind where the guy in front of me’s hand is, you can kind of see Bruce’s back. Just look for the spotlight and the space where every person’s iphone is pointing. Which is way closer than it appears here.

he's RIGHT there! I promise!

he’s RIGHT there! I promise!

I can’t even explain how phenomenal this concert was. One of my all-time favorite musicians/song-writers was encouraging me to sing along with him to some of my all-time favorite songs, while he was standing close enough to make eye contact with me. Not that we DID make eye contact . . . but man, at the time it felt like he made eye contact WITH MY SOUL. It was life-changing. My feelings were probably akin to what normal people feel when their newborn grasps their finger for the first time. The three-hour concert was one of the most completely pure, fully sincere, wholly un-cynical moments of my life.  The energy and love in that room was unbelievable. Seriously. People WORSHIP this man. We stood next to some Italians who had been following him around for the past 50 shows of his tour. Italians! English isn’t even their native tongue! Springsteen: the universal language.**

Since about March(ish?), Emily and I have been having mini-movie parties. We trade turns picking a movie then hosting a theme night. We’ve had some great themes and epic foods, especially when introducing each other to movies we haven’t seen. Emily had never seen Jaws! I know! So August was Jaws movie night at my house.

I'm very proud of my vegan shark cake

I’m very proud of my vegan shark cake

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remains of Jaws’ kill. Why is the hand larger than the torso? Why did Jaws eat all the toes off the foot? These are the mysteries of the deep, my friends. The ocean tells no tales.

da dum. da dum. DADUMDADUMDADUM. Just because the cake is vegan doesn't mean the shark is . . .

da dum. da dum. DADUMDADUMDADUM. Just because the cake is vegan doesn’t mean the shark is . . .

shark attack victims. Some of them are more upset about it than others.

shark attack victims. Some of them are more upset about it than others.

Emily's contribution! a fruitful man-eater

Emily’s contribution! a fruitful man-eater

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everyone got into the sharky spirit!

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and I mean everyone

and I mean everyone.

yeah, the whole point was to show off my cake decorating in those first photos, which don’t really do it justice. I was so proud, because I am SO bad at that, but it actually looked good! We’ve done some other great ones . . . here’s the spread from Halloween (when the move was Trick R Treat):

the jackolantern is a punch bowl!

the jackolantern is a punch bowl!

I need suggestions for January, if anyone knows a good wintery movie. I’m thinking maybe Winter’s Bone, but other than a lot of bone-shaped treats I’m not sure what the food theme would be. Also it seems lazy to choose a move that has “winter” right in the title.

Speaking of shark attacks . . .

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messy!

Stephen and I went to see the musical Evil Dead for the second year in a row. We went with our friends Lonnie and Marie, and we sat in the front row, and we all got drenched in fake blood. Lonnie and Marie LOVED the show. At one point I was worried Lonnie’s head might pop off, he was laughing so hard. It was really fun to share it with them, and a lot of the same actors were back this year, which is always fun to see that they must love the show too, to do it again. Anyway, the blood! THE BLOOD. Ridiculous. It was just chocolate syrup and food coloring, but it got everywhere. I had to throw out my contacts because they were dyed red when I took them out. It was great. Stephen looked especially gory, I think because the shaved head made the blood stand out. When we were walking out the show’s cast was standing in the lobby, kind of doing a meet-and-greet, and Ash (main character) saw Stephen and starting laughing and pointing at him. Which is always nice to have a stranger do, whilst you’re covered in blood (it was great).

gratuitous picture of puppy snuggles (GPOPS)

gratuitous picture of puppy snuggles (GPOPS)

And that’s it for now. I was gonna write some house updates, but I have to leave SOME suspense for the next post. There are walls that have been painted and bookcases installed and holes dug in yards by certain dogs and all kinds of craziness! Edge of your seat now, aren’t you? I’ll try not to let another million months go by before an update. What will happen to the internet if I don’t post dog pictures, after all? I don’t think we want to find out.

*More evidence of how I think in morbid, death-ish terms now: while admiring the amazingness of the painting, a voice in the back of my head was like, “after I die and all my possessions are given to a thrift store I hope some really awesome goofy teen buys this painting and hangs it in their bedroom on Mars.”

**I really wanted him to play “Terry’s Song,” which was my main contribution to my dad’s memorial service: the lyrics were printed on the bulletin and the song played during part of the photo DVD. But it is probably best that he didn’t because I would’ve collapsed in a puddle of emotion on floor, and then contracted a polio-syphilis hybrid disease and died because the floor was super gross.

Afterwords

23 Aug

Here I am, unlocking our new house for the first time! Can’t you feel the dogs’ excitement?? Stephen and I went over there on the closing date of April 12, took the dogs around, introduced them to the doggie door, which is about the best thing to ever happen to them. We made plans for painting walls and replacing screens and getting new furniture and getting rid of old furniture.

My parents and niece came over, too. My dad and Isabelle hadn’t yet seen the inside, so we all went on a tour. They didn’t stay long. Isabelle was bouncing around like a five year old does, the dogs were chasing her like dogs do, my mom had an early morning meeting and my dad was really tired. I hugged them all goodbye, my dad right around his ribcage, my arms circling the same spot where strangers would be applying CPR almost exactly 12 hours later.

When my mom called me at work to come to the hospital, my hands were shaking as I unlocked my car. It surprised me, because I didn’t consciously feel that worried. My 62 year old father had been to the doctor a few months back and been told he had the health of a 40 year old. A fit 40 year old. He rode his bike to the BSU gym almost every day, and the gym was where he had collapsed, and that was all I knew. As I drove I thought of when I was a kid and my parents were late to come home from dinner out, and how my worry would snowball into wondering which aunt or uncle I’d live with now that I was an orphan. As a kid I’d remind myself that it had never been anything before, and that they’d always come home. That’s what I thought on the drive to the hospital: it’s never been anything before. Everyone’s always ok.

They took him off life support about a day later. Even with no brain activity, he was so healthy that his brain stem kept his body going for three more days. My mom and my dad’s best friend stayed with him in the hospital those days, when they moved him out of ICU and to a room with a shower and extra bed. When there was nothing else to do for him, so they made my mom comfortable instead. I said my goodbyes before we took him off life support. I watched his empty body gasp for air as they pulled out his breathing tube, and then I left and didn’t go back. It was too hard to watch him sleep, the same as when he’d doze off while reading, and know he wasn’t there.

I don’t regret that I didn’t stay those days it took  his body to catch up with his brain. I do regret that I didn’t rage when we knew there was no hope. When the doctor showed us the CT scans and explained the dark spots. I regret that I didn’t unhook IVs and throw around telephones and overturn hospital beds and scream until they heard me over the babies crying in the maternity ward three floors down. My dad’s life deserved a grander send-off than stoic weeping and quiet phone calls and patient waiting for organ donor consults. I should’ve burned the place down.

People who go through trauma talk about the break into Before and After. My dad never saw the new house with furniture. He never picked me up for our Sunday breakfast from my new house. He never made fun of me for how spider-freaked I am about the new basement. He never saw the garden he built me thrive in the new backyard. He never gave me advice on how to keep my new lawn from dying in 105 degree heat. He never helped me figure out how to turn the water off when my new water heater leaked. He never came over to grill burgers on the new barbecue. The house is full of his absence. Full of the After. But maybe because of that, the memories I have of the last time I saw him living are especially vivid. How he smiled when ducking his 6’6” frame under the doorways in the basement. How I teased him about all the free home improvement he was going to do for me—where I wanted the bookshelves and the garden gate—and how he said that he was happy to do the work, as long as I knew that “you get what you paid for.” How he checked out the backyard fence where I told him it was wobbly. How he greeted my dogs with the same wrestle-y pets he gave every dog, and how they loved it.

These new rooms where I live in last memories. Memories that are easier than the questions: when his heart stopped, did he feel it happen? Was he scared? Did I tell him I loved him when we said goodbye that last night? What if all the brain scans were wrong, and he would’ve been one of the “miracles” that comes back despite supposed brain-death?

But those are questions about Before, useless in the ever-After. He’s gone. And I miss him.

bunny suits and booties

14 Mar

Hugo outside, the only time he ever looks small. He's getting so big!

So! I have survived my first two days of the new job!

And it is so great. I really like it. I mean, there’s lots of boring orientation stuff now, but the people are SO nice and I am learning SO much and I actually feel like I am doing something with my days, instead of just clicking boxes and wasting my time (sorry old job. But you know it’s true).

I’m going to be working with engineers, writing and translating stuff for them into “normal people” speak. But right now there’s not much for a “normal” (ie, dumb) person like me in terms of training. But I need to understand a lot of the engineers’ tools and processes. So, I am going to be shadowing engineers in the clean room for three weeks, in addition to getting my real job training, which means I am going to be working 12 hour days, 50+ hours a week, including Saturdays. It’s NUTS. Luckily I have random weekdays off (like today) for those weeks, but it’s gonna be brutal. The upshot is I am paid hourly, so I can get my house down payment paid off with all that overtime pay. But even better? I get to wear a clean room suit. It looks a lot like this:

Actually, it looks EXACTLY like those suits, right down to the zippers. That’s what I will be wearing for 12 hours a day (with an hour break for lunch). I start my first “C shift” (lingo!) tomorrow, but we got a tour yesterday and were taught how to disinfect, etc. The clean rooms are AMAZING. The whole tour I just kept thinking of how it was the closest I would ever get to being in Star Wars. They have automated machines picking up and putting stuff down, and running on tracks all around you. Picture little R2-D2s on tracks zipping through your workspace. It’s also just fun to be all suited up and anonymous. I noticed that people get a lot closer to you then they otherwise would; walking spaces diminish and normal-talkers become close-talkers. You can only see each others’ eyes and tops of noses, so I guess it takes away some of the social norms of personal bubbles when you don’t have as many visual distinctions separating each other.

I really want to hear some romance stories from the clean room. My boss was telling me how people will get to know you by your body shape and walking style, and you’ll be good friends with clean room peeps who you won’t recognize when you see them in the cafeteria. So there must be some tale of two people falling in love, just being able to see each others’ eyes. QUEL ROMANTIQUE!!!!! And this is how you know I’m not really an engineer: when in the clean room I’m busy pretending I’m in Star Wars and thinking about bunny-suited people’s intraoffice romances, instead of actually listening to information on oxidation processes and all that shit I’m supposed to be observing. So, obviously off to a great start learning stuff and paying attention at my new job!!

 

And now I’m going to nap the rest of the day.

rocky ground

9 Mar

note the Hugo paw on Cosmo's haunch, frozen mid-attack.

Another post, another puppy picture!

So, a lot has been going on! Since February I have, in no particular order:

  1. Gotten a puppy (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I’m super quiet about it)
  2. Gotten a new job
  3. Gotten a new house (well, kind of. I am BUYING a house! But not officially closing till April)
  4. Gotten weird stress hives from all the changes (yes, getting a new job and buying a house are stressful enough to eff up my body. Third world problems)

I haven’t written about any of it (especially not the puppy) because it was all kind of in flux. The house had to be inspected, the job had to be kept quiet till I’d given my notice, etc. But it’s all coming together now! Today is my last day at my current job, and today the inspection came through as all clear for the house, so EVERYTHING IS FOR REAL. AAAAAahhhhhhhh. Let’s look at puppy picture instead of thinking about it:

I mean, I’m really excited about it all! The job pays enough to let me BUY a house, it will be much more challenging than my current job, have more opportunities for advancement, and not be run by idiots (sorry current job, but it’s kind of true). And the house thing is terrifying but also exciting. I didn’t realize how sick I was of renting until I was making a pro/con renting vs buying list for Emily, who was trying to decide between the two. Even though I could see the pros of renting, I was like, UGH I  want my “real house” already. Someplace I can buy furniture for without worrying if it will fit in the next rental. Someplace I can paint the walls as much as I want. Someplace I can have five dogs and not pay a deposit. And that someplace is going to be MY place on April 12! AAAAhhhhhh so much money! But it will be good. It will be great! Right?

Despite all the pros, the job thing is crazy making too. Partly because it will be more challenging (there’s a good two weeks of ONLY training), but mostly because it means I won’t be working from home, which is what I’ve been doing exclusively since February. And I LOVE working from home. The other day I was working with Cosmo’s head resting on my leg, and I thought about how soon I would not spend my work day with puppies and it made me get all blubbery. But, one cannot make one’s life decisions SOLELY based on puppies, right?

The gray in the foreground is my sweatpanted leg. This is pretty much my workday right now.

Puppies should only be 80% of the decision, not 100%. Anyway, that was one of the reasons we got Hugo when we did; I knew I was probably gonna get offered this jobby-job, and only would have a month to truly puppertize. So I had to get it all in while I could.

ridin' in the car, not so sure about this "locomoting" thing

Hugo had his first Puppy Preschool class yesterday. It’s in the garage of dude who lives in Nampa (aka, the armpit of Idaho), so not sketchy at all (totally sketchy). I wasn’t so sure about it going in . . . I am a big Positive Training fan, and this trainer buys into that whole dominance/pack crap that I think is outdated and not applicable to all dogs. But his techniques seem to be a mix between the two, and it’s only three classes, so I can always just kind of adapt his methods to my own (because OBVIOUSLY I know more than a professional. Or, at least maybe I know more about my own dog than a dude who runs training out of his garage?). Anyway, it actually went really well. He tries to teach the dogs to not be scared by loud noises, and to get used to small animals and being handled by different people and meeting new dogs. So all basics that puppies need, but I can’t really naturally get him. I mean, this dude took Hugo into a little pen with a chicken, a chinchilla, a pigeon, and a bunny, in order to get him used to little animals and train him not to be too interested in them. I can’t really duplicate that. So yeah, it had it’s pros and cons, and I rolled my eyes a little when he said Hugo trying to put his paw up into my hand when I gave him a treat was him “dominating” me (I think it was just him trying to get his damn treat), but it will hopefully be helpful in making Hugo a well-mannered beast.

not that he isn't already super calm and mellow and good . . .

There was one other puppy there, an adorable 11-week old pit bull. Part of the class is socializing, and just letting them play together and watching for undesirable behaviors. At first I was kind of like eeeeekkkk pit bull (Stephen was attacked by one a few years ago, and I’ve had scary moments with them at the dog park, so I’m not much of a fan) but he was a really sweet pup, and it turns out I wasn’t the one who should be worried because HUGO GROWLED AND SNAPPED AT THE PUPPY. My perfect angel! My sweet fuzzball! Being a jerkface meandog! He only seemed to do it when he was sitting in front of me; if the puppies were puppying kind of in the middle of the room, he was nice. But protecting me from puppies is not in Hugo’s job description. I was mortified. But, y’know, that’s why I’m bringing him to this class. He seems fine with dogs bigger than him: there was a huge Boxer there who he climbed on and cuddled and loved, and he has never been aggressive towards Cosmo, even when Cosmo deserved it. But as far as I know he’s never really been around other puppies (aside from at the pound, I assume, but even then it would’ve been his littermates) or small dogs. So, puppy’s got some socializing to do. The problem is he doesn’t have his full shots yet, so I can’t just go out and take him places to meet dogs; and even when he DOES have some shots, that’s not always possible/safe. I’m thinking of trying to get a puppy craigslist group together . . . just meet in someone’s backyard with our puppies to have them play. But I feel kind of guilty, being like, “I want a puppy who my puppy will attack so I can train him NOT to attack puppies.” Also, craigslist scares me (for meeting people. Buying stuff I’m cool with). So I don’t know, but Hugo is going to be a NICE DOG DAMMIT. He has been until last night, so we’ll see what happens, but I WILL NOT BE A FAILURE AS A DOG MOTHER.

all he wants is cudddles!

There was more to write about, like how my gardening stuff is going and how I acquired a manatee coffee table and how I am going to OWN a house and how awesome the new Springsteen album is and such exciting things. But I have run out of steam and so, here we end. I’m sure I will be all whiny and crazy next week, so there’s that to look forward to!

 

everything’s growing!

28 Feb

We shall open this post with a gratuitous puppy picture:

Look at the size of those front paws.

Hugo remains an obnoxious terror of a delightful puppy. He’s starting to show personality traits, which is fun to watch. So far we know he is super lazy (see photo above: he lies down to drink out of his water bowl) and is sensitive to loud noises (which is apparently a Pyrenees trait. Whenever Cosmo barks, Hugo runs. Which is weird because being a loud and voracious barker is also a Pyrenees trait, but maybe he’ll grow into that one). He also LOVES to chew slippers and shoes, because he is a stereotype in the fuzzball flesh.

Cosmo and Hugo, chillin'

He and Cosmo are still getting along like gangbusters. We often warn Cosmo that Hugo is going to have his revenge for all of those tug-o-wars and chase times where Cosmo smugly dominates. But I don’t think Cosmo is quite worried yet. Stephen and I have a bet going as to what Hugo’s full grown weight will be. I say 80lbs, Stephen says 110lbs. Secretly I hope he stays this tiny and fluffy forever, but seeing as he is growing like a weed on growth hormones in radioactive super-growth soil, I think that is an unlikely wish to come true.

And now begins the (mostly)non-dog related section of this post!

Dear reader: I AM GOING TO KILL AT GARDENING THIS YEAR!!! Mostly thanks to other people stepping in and helping with the greening of my thumb. First, there is this:

An amazing aerogarden birthday gifted to me by the amazing Vivienne. It is growing a tomato plant that is luminous and wonderous! And I get to self pollinate it now that there are flowers, and it makes the whole room smell like fresh planty plantness, which is lovely. There was this time not long ago, that I won’t get into here, when I got a job offer in another state and in all the moving discussions number one on the list was HOW WILL WE MOVE THE AEROGARDEN WITHOUT KILLING IT? So, naturally I didn’t take the job (there may have been other factors at play too, but mostly it was aerogarden).

grow my pretties. GROW!

It also makes me feel all mad scientisty for some reason, which is an added perk.

THEN I met Emily, who is a genuine goddess in all thinks garden. Garden Goddess!

even puppies are awed by her presence

She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and I am lucky enough to know some really terribly nice people, so that is a big deal. She has been helping me with gardening tricks, even wrote up a five-page starter’s guide to gardening for me and gave me a bunch of seeds and didn’t laugh at me when we went to a seed swap together and I kept being all, SEEDS ARE SO AAAMMAZZINNNGGGG!!!

so crazy

Because they are so amazing! Those little itty bitty seeds grow to be delicious, delicious foods. Maybe I’m just all disconnected-from-the-earth and such, but I don’t think I will ever not find that mind-boggling and beautiful.

ANYWAY Emily taught me all these great seed-starting stuffz to build my skillz and if I don’t have a bountiful garden this summer, I will only have myself to blame. 

seedlings! magic!

 

Fat Tuesday and Pupiversary!

21 Feb

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday! 

Mardi puppy!

he's like a bear cub with beads

Stephen’s parents sent us a box full of beads and . . . other things.

Stephen's parents obtained this gem at a parade, somehow . . .

Yes, it would normally be a little disturbing to get a care package from my boyfriend’s parents with that inside, but there are different rules about these kinds of things during Mardi Gras. 

It is also the 8 day anniversary of Hugo (final name) living with us. I swear he grows bigger every day. He’s getting more coordinated and bouncy and crafty, it’s really fun to watch. I just wrote a whole paragraph about his sleeping and eating and pooping habits, but then I remembered this isn’t a mommy blog (puppy mommy or otherwise) so I will just leave it that it’s really fun and tiring.

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