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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!

IMGP1416

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 . . .

IMGP1438

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.

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Julius Copernicus Blue Dog

19 Dec

This is the last picture of Julius ever taken.

I took it Saturday morning. Julius had an emergency eye-removal on Friday, and Stephen had literally stayed up with him all night post-surgery, as the poor pup paced and cried. I relieved Stephen around 5 a.m., and he konked out on the couch next to his best friend. As Stephen fell asleep we were making jokes about getting Julius a Christmas-themed pirate eye patch. Three hours later he would have a seizure and not wake up.

I took this a few weeks earlier, whenever the last time the Saints played, judging by Stephen’s clothes. I think I was actually trying to get a picture of Cosmo’s crazy rolling here, but it better captured the amazing relationship of Jules and Stephen. For 11 years they always had each other, and there was never a more loved dog.

He could be terrifically annoying at times, but it was always from a place of love. The best example of that is the fact that Stephen and I haven’t sat next to each other on a couch in . . . well, ever (even when first dating Jules would come over whenever Stephen did, if we were hanging at home). If Julius was on the couch alone, he would cry loudly and voraciously until one of us sat next to him. Sometimes Stephen would move to sit next to Jules, and Jules would continue whining, while staring at me, until we switched positions. So on the one hand, it was annoying to have your seating controlled by a dog. On the other hand, it was hard to get mad at a dog whose only wish was to have us sitting next to him.

Before I met Julius, Stephen told me stories about him that I didn’t really believe. How he refused to lie down without having a blanket on him. How he would ignore normal sized snowmen, but bark at small-sized ones; he didn’t trust children. How he would drink water till he vomited, not for any medical reason, just because he liked drinking. How he’d bark at his own farts. I thought they were the adorable ramblings of someone anthropomorphizing their beloved pet. But they were all true, and then some. And I know that when I tell my Julius stories–and there are many–people won’t really believe them. Because there’s never been a dog as weird, sweet, and crazy as him. And there never will be again.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . a million tubas tuba-ing!

5 Dec

toot toot!

When you go to an event called “Tuba Christmas,” this is what you get: Tubas. Christmas.

note the kid wearing shorts in 30 degree weather. CRAZY

I’ve been wanting to go to this every year, but it’s always at like, 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday in December, and damn if that wasn’t always prime homework/final timings. But this year! No more grad school, biznatches! And by “biznatches” I of course mean “tubas”! It was so cute and weird and Christmasy, seeing this group of tuba (and miscellaneous brass instrument) players in front of Boise’s equivalent of the Rockefeller Center Tree, belting out Silent Night on their tubamaphones. Christmas Carols actually translate to tuba really well. Who knew!

The conductor was adorable, he was this little old dude who’s the Tuba Professor at BSU (Tuba Professer!!!!), and he kept encouraging the crowd to sing, and he danced along with the songs, and sang solo himself for the holiday classic “Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas.” I went with my bud’ Erica, and after every song she turned to me and said TUBA CHRISTMAS in the voice most people would reserve for the phrase FREE CHOCOLATE. So that is two hardy votes for the awesomeness of it, and now you are convinced that your Christmas won’t be complete without tuba carols, right? I agree. It won’t be.

So, that was Saturday. SUNDAY I spent literally all day (except for two glorious hours of watching the Muppet Movie for the second time) making stockings for my dogs. Yep. My dogs have stockings, which are now hung by the chimney with care.

those are really more like moose antlers, but you get the gist

I was so excited to make them. As I bought the fabric I had all these dreams of making a ton of them and selling them at Cosmo’s ritzy doggie daycare, all proceeds going back to the Humane Society, and doggie stockings and I would SAVE THE WORLD. Then I realized it takes 8 hours to make two of them . . . and even though I love these two, they are very homemade looking. Homemade looking makes me love them all the more, but no one else would buy them (rightfully so). So, yeah. I will have to save the world some other way. Maybe with cookies? Somehow?

Cosmo's stocking. My mom did the "C" embroidery for me, because I don't quite have those skills. It's funny because I can totally tell it's her handwriting, just from that C (that looks ever so slightly like maybe a G, right? That's mah momz C)

Julius stocking

Notice the nails on Julius’s stocking? Want to know why Julius stocking has nails, but Cosmo stocking doesn’t? This is why:

CLAWS OF DEATH

Poor Julius. He is bald and blind and extremely lumpy, but mother nature made up for all those deficits by giving him KILLER CLAWS OF KILLING DEATH. Unlike normal dogs, who can have their nails clipped, Jules has nails that have veins full through. So if he was a human, his full nail would be the pink nail bed. No white clippable part. His feet are terrifying. So his stocking must represent that, natch.

Luckily he doesn't use his deadly weapons for anything other than prancing (much like a little reindeer prancing on each tiny foot).

 Doesn’t Cosmo do a pretty good imitation of the dog from The Grinch?

He's as cuddly as a cactus

he's got garlic in his soul

Bonus to the stockings: hanging next to each other, they are the initials for a certain Jesus Christ, who I’ve heard is a Christmas birthday boy. That’s gotta win some extra presents from Santa, right?

Antler outtake

Stevie Wonder, eat your heart out

24 Oct

This is Julius, howling along with a harmonica intro to a Springsteen song. I love his little head tilt, and then full-on bluesy singin’ when I join in about halfway through. Getting him to howl is one of my main joys in life right now. The closed-eyes! It’s just so soulful!

By the way, I just got a flip camera. So expect many more dog videos. You are welcome! (please excuse the somewhat choppy filming, I hadn’t quite figured out the zoom buttons)

He was born a ramblin’ man

3 Oct

Remember how my last post I was all, “Yeah, my dog is totally pampered and I am the best dog-owner EVAH and no dog could want for more than my special, special dog, and I am a wonderful person.”? Yeah. I let my dog get lost yesterday.

We took him for a long hike in the foothills Sunday morning. We’ve let him off-leash exactly twice on other foothills trails, and he was pretty good. He would run ahead a bit, then turn around and run back to us, and repeat. He got out of sight a few times, but always came when we called (eventually), and always stayed on the trail. Yesterday we let him free about a mile and a half into the trail (when it officially became a loose-dog allowed section), and he took off like a dog chasing a bat out of hell. Like a dog on a mission. A mission to totally ditch us and return to his stray trampin’ roots. 

By the time we started yelling his name, I’m sure he was out of hearing distance.  The dumb dog has a microchip, a license, and a tag with his name and my number on it, so I figured if someone else on the trail had found him they might be calling me.  We tried to figure out how to access my voicemail via Stephen’s phone, but randomly pressing # at various times after calling my own voicemail didn’t work, so. We split up and searched, and after no luck Stephen went on to search off the trail while I walked back to the car, where I had left my cell phone. By this time we were well into the steep, woodsy trail, where there were plenty of ways for Cosmo to have run off trail any which way, and he had been on his grand adventure for about 40 minutes. 

I was, surprisingly, not too worried. I am somewhat good in these situations, refusing to panic over The Worst until necessary (I’ve always been good at delusional thinking). I did ask everyone I met on the trail if they had seen a little brown dog, and everyone was really nice and sympathetic. “He’ll find you,” a very sweet woman told me, while patting my shoulder. She was jogging back to the trailhead with her big black dog, and had stopped when she saw I was without the pup who had greeted her on her way up the trail. While we were first looking and calling his name I had asked another couple on their way back to the trailhead. They hadn’t seen him, but promised to keep their eyes out for him as they finished their hike.

And keep their eyes out they did, because when I was about a mile from the trailhead, they were walking back up towards me, with Cosmo. They had two dogs of their own, both off-leash, so Cosmo was on one of their spare leashes. As soon as he saw me he about yanked the guy’s arm off, so they let him loose to run to me. The fact that he ran PAST two friendly dogs, ignoring their excited play-with-me-bounces, just to get to me, was about as pure expression of love as I’ve ever had directed towards me (have I mentioned he ADORES other dogs? He does.). 

Ok, the story doesn’t end there though. Because these extremely sweet, wonderful people returned my puppy, (who was soaking wet, somehow) and then walked on their merry way. And since I had given Stephen the leash, I was left with houdini and no strait jacket. And a mile left on the trail. Which is the length those awesome people had walked to return Cosmo, by the way, and all up hill. He had apparently found some other hikers who smelled better than us, and he had followed them back to the trailhead. The hikers had called my phone, then were planning on just leaving him tied to a post, but my favorite people ever decided instead to just walk him back to me. How nice is that? Except now they were walking away. As was their right. And I had to escort my 40 pound leashless dog a mile back to the car. 

I ended up half carrying, half collar holding him the whole way. A very nice man offered me his dog’s leash (because HIS dog behaved off-leash. Show-off), but because I am one proud bitch, I turned him down (this was about five minutes into the walk, and I severely regretted it later). Ok, but THIS IS THE BEST PART:

When I FINALLY got to the parking lot, arms and back about to fall off, a woman was getting ready to start biking the trail with her daughter and two black labs. She saw me carrying Cosmo, and said “They’re friendly!” thinking that I was worried about her dogs attacking mine. I answered that Cosmo had broken his leash and was a runner (I was too embarrassed to tell the truth to a stranger, without adding a million caveats about how we’d had him off-leash before and he was normally really good and my boyfriend had his leash and was still looking and I would have still been looking but my phone was in the car and . . . blah. Although saying his leash broke didn’t make me seem much saner, because why didn’t I rig it somehow to still work? But I let them worry that out without my explanation). She very kindly offered me one of her dogs’ leashes, and this time I accepted, because I just had to run him to the car and could then return the leash. So I did, and after I had Mr. Explorer safely in the car, she pulled up on her bike and was all, “did you go to Colby?” cuz see, I was wearing my poser Colby-crew shirt. AND SHE WENT TO COLBY TOO! Class of 1993! How random is that! We totally chatted for a bit, her name is Alison, and I so wanted to be like, “let’s hang out and talk about whoopie pies and a capella groups together!” but I am not cool enough to make a friend that way. Sigh. But yeah, she’s only the second Colby grad I’ve ever met in Idaho (the first guy was kind of creepy. I ran into him while wearing a Colby shirt in the supermarket. He was about 65, wearing sunglasses, and pointed to me, then to himself. I gave him a blank look, and he was like, “That’s me! I went to Colby!” and I was like, “Right on!” and that was it. I was thinking if he had his sunglasses off it would have been even creepier, because he would’ve been staring at my chest (or rather the COLBY on my chest, but I wouldn’t have known that) when he pointed to himself.), and I almost want to write in to the alumni magazine about it. The Time Another Colby Grad Saved My Arms.

Anyway, I don’t think Cosmo intended to run away . . . but his stray dog roots give him confidence that he can do what he wants and where he wants, biznatches. Normal dogs rely on their humans for things like, food, so they might not stray. Cosmo knows how to live on the mean streets, man.  But he was very noticeably more clingy yesterday, and he’s pretty cuddly on a good day, so that’s saying something. 

In summary:

People who are awesome: Boiseans and Colby grads (did I mention Colby-Alison was a coxswain at Colby? She was! Like all the best people)

Dogs who are kind of shitheads: Cosmos

Dog owners who have two thumbs and are never letting their dog off-leash again: This Girl

he is just a natural explorer (pic taken through dirty glass window, please forgive the spots)

Warning: Gratuitous doggie post

28 Sep

I’m a bit neurotic about Cosmo. I accept it, and am willing to be mocked for it.  He gets two walks and an hour at the dog park, daily. Which means he sees his friends more than I do. It’s hard for me to leave the grocery store without buying him a treat/toy. But whatever, he’s my dog, which means I am responsible for his happiness, so I am going to do what I can to make him happy, dang-nab it. Even if it means waking up at 5 a.m. and scheduling my social activities around whether or not he has been home alone all day.

Anyway, pre-emptive defensiveness over. My point is, I try to keep my dog happy and healthy. I have avoided getting him a crate for his work-day confinement because I worry it would give him pound flashbacks, and he is potty-trained, so it would mostly be just to keep him from being destructive. And I think (hope) that I can keep him from being destructive just by puppy-proofing and toy distractions. That has worked about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time he has chewed and destroyed (in no particular order):

  1. an alarm clock
  2. a metal lamp
  3. books
  4. egg crate on the mattress
  5. window blinds (WHICH WERE UP AT THE TIME. He is half monkey)

And probably more that I’m forgetting. Oh, he has also chewed a small hole in the wall, but I blame myself for that (it was a morning I overslept and didn’t have time for his pre-work walk.) Anyway, so now we have puppy proofed to the extent that all that’s left in the bedroom with him is a bed (stripped of blankets/pillows), a futon, a small dresser, and a metal water bowl (because he ate his plastic water bowl). I even take his collar off when we leave, because I don’t want him somehow getting it caught on something. All these precautions are mostly for his own safety (did I mention he ATE a lot of that alarm clock? yes), as well as the safety of our possessions. And yet, the other day when I came home, he greeted me with this.

he is the macgyver of finding chewable dangers

A rubber necklace. Which came from the rubber foot slide guard on the bottom of his metal bowl. He chewed literally the only thing in the room, other than furniture, that could possibly be chewed. The BOTTOM of his water dish. 

I visited all the doggie daycares in Boise (more than you’d think!) before deciding on one (sidenote: I now have a dream of opening a doggie daycare in a bigger city. With a pool for swimming dogs, and  a special therapy room for traumatized dogs. Oh, yes, I have big ideas). And even to take him to daycare was a big decision, because I don’t want someone else puppying my puppy. I still worry that he will be bullied  by a mean dog, but there’s a doggie cam to watch them, and he LIVES for playing with other pups, so he’s basically in heaven. His first day was yesterday, and he did great. We watched him on the doggie cam, and he literally did not even sit down all day. He was a perpetual play bow and blurry brown flash. He was SO TIRED last night. He passed out in the car, which has never happened before, ever. I won’t take him daily (I don’t think he, or my wallet, could survive), but it’s nice to know that maybe one day a week will be enough to keep him from, I don’t know, eating the doorknob or something ridiculous. Which is likely the next step. I love puppies.

first day of daycare. he did not move from this position till bedtime.

Pioneer pup

13 Aug

Photo 13 of Augustography

this is pretty much what the pioneer puppies saw all those years ago, when they stuck their fuzzy heads out of their Conestoga wagons (minus the electrical wires). Man, the Oregon Trail must've been de-press-ing.