Gopher Karma…

We were careful to pitch our tent far from the floury dust mounds. The humps are near the front of the site.  This puzzles me. I look around. Mounds at the front of all the sites.


Of course. Next to the picnic tables. Dinner.


My first clue that these are no ordinary gophers: no holes in the parking spots.

Shaun knocked on the window of the car the next morning, waking me up. She raised her eyebrows: Why are you in the car?

I groan, and wonder: Why am I in the car?

Continue reading “Gopher Karma…”

Reason 2,573 I Love My Dog

He is the only sentient being in my house that knows I ate two chocolate old-fashioned donuts while I was supposed to be grocery shopping for healthy stuff like celery and chicken.  It wouldn’t even cross his mind to rat me out.

It gets better.

He’s happy for me.

Duuuuuude, you totally scored!  Where’d you find ’em, huh? Behind the bush next to the dumpster? Whoa those smell good. You ROCK, mom.  I hope I get that lucky.  


Wanna play Kill The Fake Squirrel?

No guilt. No secret wondering if this is the start of The Great Chocolate Old-Fashioned Donut Binge of 2011. No projecting how fat that could end up making me, or how bad my arteries will clog. No wondering what psychological stressors drove me to the donut section. No calculating how much psychotherapy it would cost to keep me away from said donut section.

I love my dog. Who else is gonna just be happy for you that you were lucky enough to stuff your face?

I wonder if he’d like maple donuts….

Photo Proof that a Labrador Will Try to Swim in One Inch of Water

The day I went to take pictures of our foal in the oven, Molly was also there, with her labs.  Labrador’s really love water.  Montana watched me walk out on the grass, above which Barbie’s pregnant belly was hovering, and then start jumping around: it was boggy. I stepped on a solid clump of grass and my tennis shoe went completely underwater. I was leaping, splashing and swearing.  This was Montana’s response:

Water?!?  I’m going IN.

She lays down and wiggles her body as deeply into the water as possible.  Her nose is floating.

Then she dives…totally ready to dog paddle.

If you look closely, you can see she’s making waves, that’s water surging over her leg. She’s swimming.  Never mind it’s only an inch of water!

Like all good water dogs, shaking it off!

She had Daisy, Molly and I rolling with laughter. It was not a warm day.

To watch her joyfully splash and play in the grass puddles as if she was in a lake was hilarious. Even better, she’s not a young dog.

Is this the doggie version of Dance Like No One Is Watching?

Dashing Through the…Mud

It is raining here. I’m getting out my cubit measure.  Because the mud is really deep. Santa will get splattered.  Quite possibly he will lose a boot to the muck. Forget the cookies.  Santa is going to need flip-flops: lots and lots of replaceable flip-flops.

Christmas (the dog) is doing a reasonably good job of leaving the presents wrapped. They’re only slightly damp and disheveled looking.  Lots of missing bows.  Note to self: next year?  Do not tie tags to the bows.   Because of this oversight, I foresee handing pink floral underwear to Micah to open on Christmas morning.

I cavalierly guessed which present goes to whom, and I wrote (hopefully) the correct names in ink on their wrapping.  I’m not sure, but I think Shaun is getting dog biscuits this year. I hope the dog is happy with the new crock pot.

Shaun was staring at the dog and the tree yesterday.  “What?”, I said, looking at the dog. His head was level to the lowest ornaments: “He’s not ripping anything open, right?”

“No”, Shaun says, slowly, “it looks like he’s licking something.”  We both cross our arms.  Lean closer to look.

The dog is very studiously washing the face of a snowman ornament.  Shaun and I look at each other.  Okaaaay.

Christmas is Tidy Dog.  He likes things to stay where they belong.  Trees live in the yard. Not the living room. I think if he were taller than 9 inches, the “stick” would have been dragged outside where it belongs.  His bow and tag relocation strategy is creating problematic interactions between bipeds.

“Honey?  Why is there a giant bow in the bathtub?”

“Uh”, I say, “you’re getting a bath for Christmas?”

Micah stomps out of his bedroom.  “I don’t think it’s funny!”, he says indignantly, waving a scrap of paper in the air.

“What?”, I say, mildly.

“That tag on my laundry basket! (Mimics shrill voice, presumably my nagging one.) Dear Micah, Merry Christmas!  Have fun with it, love Mom.” He shakes his head.  “Geeze, just tell me you want me to do the laundry, okay?”

We should have an interesting Christmas morning.

In a brilliant effort not to take part in The Candy Replacement Program, I am leaving the candy at Daisy’s until the last second.  I wonder if she knows her doorbell is going to ring at exactly 11:59 on Christmas Eve?

I haven’t heard whether or not possession of The Candy has forced her into The Replacement Program.

I can’t put a friend in this position again.  Friends do not leave chocolate at friends houses, with the directive Do Not Eat.  That’s frenemy territory.

Next year I’m renting a safe deposit box, at the bank, for the $6 worth of M&M’s. Better storage area than my thighs. (I suppose I can use it during the rest of the year for my birth certificate, or some other dumb thing.  Like our will.)

I have to save me from myself somehow.

I had one of those days.

I ate an entire package of raw broccoli before I realized it was a Ghiradelli chocolate assortment.  (It was awfully good broccoli.) Fresh and minty, with chocolate undertones.

I think I’ve gone into sugar hallucinations.

I have one question smoldering in the holiday debris of my brain.  I really need to know. I’ve asked this question periodically since I was five years old.  It’s the stuff of horror movies.

What, exactly, is a sugar-plum?  Why do they dance in our heads?

And most importantly, can we fumigate?


Holiday Horse Parade, With a Bonus Video

Please meet our next holiday horse (honorary), from Laura. This is Dunbar, looking much more elegant and poised than Santa.

In unrelated news, Deck the Halls, brought to you by animals everywhere, and one creative human:

(Watch the whooooole thing: you will be pleasantly surprised it’s not your ordinary cute pet video)

Aw, c’mon.  I had to tag the post as gay and lesbian.  It’s Deck the Halls.  The carol that has the bit about donning gay apparel?

What is gay apparel?  I’d know how to dress!  No more guess-work.

If only Bloomingdale’s had a section: Women, Men, Gay Apparel, Juniors, Children, Housewares, Shoes, Better Dresses, Cosmetics, Furniture.  So appealing.

Working Out: The Hilarity Continues

I’ve gone up two clothing sizes.

It’s a problem.  I despise working out.

My doctor’s office believes in torturing patients on principle, as part of careful health monitoring.  They weigh you.  Every. Single. Time.

I got sick, and had to cave in and go to the doctor.  Not breathing has a way of forcing one out of one’s anti-doctor comfort zone.  I dread the scale.  I wore flip flops I could kick off, t-shirt, and t-shirt weight sweat pant shorts.  I couldn’t decide if an underwire bra weighed more than a workout bra or vice versa.  (I’m all about losing the fashion statement when confronted with a scale.) I was tempted to remove my glasses.  I closed my eyes, and quite clearly said “don’t tell me what it says”.

Two clothing sizes?  10 pounds gained, minimum.  I do not want to know.

Is it in the office manual that a patient’s weight must be announced to the waiting room?

Great.  Now I know.  Along with the entire office.  Wait a second.  What?!  I gained…only 2 pounds?  How can that be?

We know pants never lie.  (Not one pair of pants, a closet full of pants, which qualifies as a pants chorus.)  That means…since muscle weighs more than fat…hang on…calculating….I’ve lost 2 clothing sizes worth of muscle.  I try not to figure what the two pounds gained really translate into, in terms of The Pants Law of Physics.

My brain is immediately calculating the ways in which I can lie to myself so I don’t have to consider working out, or forgo food.

My body is sighing.  It’s tired, it’s depressed, it probably needs to go (again) to the sugar-addict equivalent of the Betty Ford clinic..  And I want it to work out?  Couldn’t we listen to the brain for once?  That’s when I know for sure I’m in trouble.  My body and my brain never agree.   Never.

I found a cool workout application  for my smart phone.  I downloaded it, thinking, “Nah, it’ll never have horseback riding on there.”  I’m happy. Now I can tell myself I tried, without actually trying.

It has horseback riding.  Not the kind of riding doctors, family, and co-workers always think you’re talking about: Sofa Riding, but actual levels of riding intensity.  Crap. It has Sport Riding.

I thought I’d better practice using the thing before I got on a horse.  I drove Christmas to his morning walk, parked, and turned the app on in the car.  It would be difficult to turn it on when I hit the sidewalk.  My hands would be way too full.  What with the dog pulling, me trying to hang onto my diet coke, and get the bagel into my mouth.

(I have this theory: if you eat during a workout, your body doesn’t log the calories, because it’s too busy.)

I unload my breakfast to the roof of the car and clip the leash on the dog. Workout program is started, cell phone firmly clipped to my waist.  Okay. I’m lying.  I clip it near the general geography of where my waist used to exist.

I expected CardioTrainer would be a sort of pedometer.

I should have been so lucky.

Continue reading “Working Out: The Hilarity Continues”

Christmas Decorating

Not too long ago, that round  yellow thing suddenly appeared in the sky, and the temperature went from 40 to 70. I threw open all the windows.  I wanted that intoxicating, sun warmed air to waft through our house.  I hate air-fresheners.  Nothing comes close to the real thing.  Shaun and I were getting her ready to travel.  We were doing laundry, packing, making lists, checking bill due dates, and itemizing stuff we needed to pick up from a big box store.

With the windows open, the normal Saturday sounds wafted in as well, kids screaming and skateboarding, dogs barking when they met on the street, friends walking together and chatting.  Our house is on a corner, there are no sidewalks, and our yard is on the corner as well.  We’re in the far back corner of the development, on the way to the lake, and frequently wave at small groups of retired women who power walk the lake route by passing our house.  It’s all very friendly. If I’m out grilling ribs, neighbors jokingly invite themselves to dinner, or ask what kind of barbeque sauce we use. (Exquisite chef that I am, I eyeball it and say “Brown?”)

We have a potted Japanese maple, with delicate red leaves: it has to be 20 years old now.  Christmas has claimed the tree: leaping up into the pot, then curling around the trunk of the tree to survey his kingdom and his subjects as they walk by.

The kids are off with friends, I’m folding shirts and Shaun is checking items off her packing list.  I’d lugged the suitcase in earlier, when Shaun was out picking up supplies.  I unzipped it and cleaned out the flotsam from the last trip.  Where do the extra buttons and bobby pins come from?  Who uses bobby pins anymore?  I picture some disgruntled, underpaid, airport security personnel who is sick to death of rifling through everyone’s underwear.  She’s probably tossing in a few bobby pins, a sewing kit, and a couple of sticks of gum from time to time.

I forgot our dog has developed a strong dislike of suitcases.  He knows it means Shaun is leaving.  I stagger back into the bedroom with a pile of laundry fresh out of the dryer.  Christmas is curled up in an impossibly tiny ball at the bottom of the suitcase, trying to look invisible.  I yell casually to Shaun ( in the office printing out her boarding pass): “Crisis in bedroom #1.”  I dump the laundry on the bed.  Shaun walks in: “What’s the prob…” She looks down at the black dog fading into the black lining of the black suitcase.  “Oh”, she says. “We forgot and got it out too early again?”

“My bad”, I say.

Continue reading “Christmas Decorating”

Today’s Ridiculous Moment Brought to You by Tidy Dog

Have I mentioned it’s been pouring here?  Endless drenching sheets of rain.

I need to digress for a moment.  When we adopted Christmas, he was newly neutered, had never lived in a house, and he was not house trained.  He must be a Virgo.   We never had one problem.  Granted, the first week he had 300 walks a day.  But he never went in the house, ever.  He likes to be clean, and he’s proud of keeping his den clean.  If Christmas feels he is too dirty, he will go into the bathroom and sit next to the tub and stare at it until  you cave and give him a bath.  This happens at least once a week.  You could say he’s a little OCD about cleanliness.  But this is good in a dog, right? Having a hairdryer trained on him is his idea of bliss.  After he started to adjust to people (he’d never been around them) and realized this was his home too, he became even prouder and more meticulous.

Translation: He now refuses to do his business in the yard.  It’s part of his house, and he will not soil it.  Every morning, Jane pulls on sweat pants over her pjs, stuffs herself into her barn jacket and walks the dog at 7 am before she has a chance to become conscious of how she looks.  Christmas has broadened his home area to include our neighborhood, and will now hold it until we get outside the “park” as we call our housing development.  I asked Shaun to stop walking him right outside the park, or soon we’d be have to drive him to another town to poop.  We chauffeur our dog to his walks.  How ridiculous is that?

Okay.  End digression.  This morning it was pouring, I let him out in the yard (hope springs eternal), which he proudly surveyed before coming inside and looking at me pleadingly: Mom.  I gotta go.  The yard’s looking good though. I stuff myself into old sweats, barn jacket, mismatched socks, and rubber gardening shoes.  Then I put him in his car seat and drive him to a place he will poop, a real park conveniently located near a Starbucks.  Except for the jacket, by the time I get in the car, I’m soaked to the skin through sweats and pjs.  He’s also soaked.

I’m going to Starbucks: if I have to walk in a downpour I’m going to do so with a skinny vanilla latte in hand.

While I’m waiting for my ridiculously expensive, shouldn’t-take-so-long-to-pronounce, 4-drinks-ahead-of-mine coffee, I read the community bulletin board Starbucks put in each franchise, to make it feel less chain-like.

You could not, in a million years, mistake this Starbucks for one in, say, Minnesota.

uh, caution on hitting the read more button, not for children…

Continue reading “Today’s Ridiculous Moment Brought to You by Tidy Dog”


You can identify our fur ball by annoying jingle collar, since I can rarely get him to face the camera. To everyone who wrote apologizing about not getting horse parade pictures in, don’t even worry about it! Next year we will start more than five days before Christmas. Say, September. Thank you to Funder and Wendy, and everyone who came and enjoyed. My your holidays, whatever they are, be full of joy, family, love, and of course: HORSES.

We’re Christmas, so the loud ripping of paper, and happy screaming you hear at 4 am on December 25th is from our house!

(Sorry we woke you, but now that you’re up…have some hot cocoa and extra Santa cookies!)


The Nine Inch Baskerville Hound

…and Thanksgiving week scatter.

Shaun’s alarm clock went off at 5 am this morning.  In the bedroom.  It woke me up on the couch. In the living room.  Christmas tucked behind my knees.

What?!  Why am I on the couch?

Shaun appeared above me, looking concerned.

“Honey?” Shaun asks, “Why are you sleeping on the couch?”  Pause.  “Do you think this matches?”  She holds up a sweater to her shirt and pants.

Continue reading “The Nine Inch Baskerville Hound”