Welcome to the world of the Adventurous Bug!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Piece of Cake

First, a story.

Last Sunday I noticed Millie, our adorable 5 month old Goldendoodle, had an odd lump on the left side of her muzzle. It felt like a knot, and I assumed she'd developed an abscess after poking herself in the face with a stick (she's a puppy--it could definitely happen). I resolved to take her to the vet on Monday morning.

On to Monday morning when I realize the puppy's face is now severely swollen, cracked, and oozing slightly red. PANIC! And the vet won't be in until the afternoon?! Husband stayed home to take her to the vet (I had to venture down to Mom's office to help while her office manager was out), and we found out the lovely puppy had gotten cellulitis. Essentially, she got bitten during a rough session of playtime and it got infected. With the way she harasses the older dogs, I can't say as I'm surprised she pushed one of them far enough to properly bite her snout.

So, it was scary looking, but she'd be just fine with a round of antibiotics. Of course, Husband has never had a dog before, and I was going to be gone for three days. It was going to be completely up to him to administer the pills.
"How do I give her the antibiotic?" he asks the vet.
"Piece of cheese," responds the vet.
Husband finds that he's confused. "Do you mean pice of cake?" he asks.
The vet laughs.
The vet-tech laughs.
Husband realizes that no, in fact 'piece of cheese' is not some odd American variation on the saying 'piece of cake'--the vet is actually telling him to give the antibiotic to the dog in a piece of cheese!

From now on, anytime I have to explain that something is going to be easy, I'm going to say it's a piece of cheese!

I wanted to bake something today, but I couldn't decide what. There are so many amazing recipes out there--but where do I start? And it dawned on me--I should be trying them ALL. Not flipping through book after book wondering what recipes are good, and what aren't--I should just MAKE THEM. So, starting tomorrow, I'm making a cake a week for the next year. I sifted through all the books in the house and have come up with forty recipes that I will try. However, that still leaves me twelve weeks of no cake!

Please, dear reader, would you do me the honor of sending me YOUR favorite cake recipe(s)? I'm resolved to make nothing I've ever made before during this Year Of Cake... starting tomorrow! Stay tuned, and send in those recipes!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Phantom Menace

She's never seen it, but it scares her.
It rumbles deeply--threateningly.
Its noises grow closer, louder, more terrifying with every passing minute.
It screams as if it has borrowed the throat of a banshee.
She believes it portends death.
Sandy, the revered Golden Retriever, stands in the back yard and shrieks a howl of defiance and warning.
Unable to defend her family, or herself--
unable even to muster the sheer lunatic bravery needed to catch a glimpse of the devil--
she flees to the only safe place she can go....

Oh, Cassie. *sigh* The garbage truck is not going to steal your soul.

Why do you act like it's the last horseman of the apocalypse (after the UPS man, FedEx, and thunderstorms)?

You're turning a year old on May 14th, and I think it's time you start acting like a big girl.

I didn't realize we were having thunderstorms this afternoon, Cass. I guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Windy City

Yesterday the Husband-fellow and I were driving to G-City (a "nearby" city so large it has a Wal-Mart AND a Home Depot... and an Applebee's!) to pick up some things for the yard. Well, I say they're for the yard but really they're to stop the archaeological excavations being performed by the esteemed landscaping duo, Doodles Inc. At some point Husband said, "They call Chicago the windy city, right? It can't possibly be windier than this, can it?" Ah, the keen observational sense of those Scots.

This launched me into one of my (many, many) favorite bits of trivia. Namely, that the moniker "The Windy City" has nothing to do with Chicago's lake effect winds. (It's slightly windier than New York on average, but less windy than Boston--for example.) There are a few hypotheses about just how Chicago's braggadocio earned their city such a nickname. One suggestion is that it started during the late 1800s when Chicago and Cincinnati were rivals. From the 1870s there are several examples in Cincinnati newspapers calling Chicago "that Windy City" in reference to Chicago's claims to have surpassed Cincinnati's pork production (which Chicago did actually do before the turn of the century), and again when speaking of Chicago's boast that their "White Stockings" were a better baseball team than Cincinnati's "Red Stockings." I love this 5 March 1879 poem from the Cincinnati Enquirer: There was a young man from Chicago,/ it was strange how he did make his jaw go./ One nice day he did to his pa go,/ saying "Really father, does ma know/ If for crime and deceit / any city can beat / the windy old town of Chicago. Ouch. (Although, it is to be noted that the residents of Milwaukee apparently didn't care much for Chicagoans either. From the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 4 July 1860, "We are proud of Milwaukee because she is not overrun with a lazy police force as is Chicago -- because her morals are better, he [sic] criminals fewer, her credit better; and her taxes lighter in proportion to her valuation than Chicago, the windy city of the West." Yowza, Milwaukee. Harsh.)

I prefer, however, the idea that the nickname really took hold during the 1890 World's Fair bidding. New Yorkers could not believe that the Chicagoans could beat them, that some upstart little "frontier town" could take prominence over New York City. Silly New Yorkers. There's a famous quote from New York newspaperman Charles Dana (though whether it's a direct quote or not seems to be under some question), "Don't pay attention to the nonsensical claims of that windy city. It's people could not build a world's fair if they won it." Tsktsk. Don't overlook the underdog. That should be added to the plaque at the Statue of Liberty. At any rate, Chicago won the fair (after a prolonged period of back-and-forth sniping between Chicago and NYC journalists) and they did manage to put on a spectacular show, much to the chagrin of those New Yorkers! I recommend "Devil in the White City" for both historical facts and decent storytelling.

Windy City, indeed. Chicago's average annual wind speed is 10.3mph. J-City, Kansas has an average annual wind speed of 9 m/s, or 20.1mph. Sorry Chicago. I know you want people to think you're called The Windy City because of the lake effect, but I'm officially changing it to the City of Swagger, and I'm awarding the title "The Windy City" where it belongs--HERE! Or, at least, here before it blows awaaaaayyyyyyyy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

(Dog) T i m e (Really) F l i e s

It happens every day. Every. Single. Day.

I wake up, scratch Cassie's ears and kiss her on the nose (even though she knows she's not supposed to be on the bed, she always is), and I let Millie out of her playpen (yes, the dog has a playpen). And then it happens. Every day. I think, "That dog is bigger than she was when she went in last night."

My mom comes home every week, every single week, from her three-day stint at her office in another town and she says, "I think that dog grew while I was gone!"

It happens every day, and every day I feel both saddened and excited by it. It's simultaneously the best, and worst thing about having a puppy. Watching them grow is miraculous, but it's also a bit heartbreaking to see that cute little puppy fade, turn into a gangly teenager, and then a fully-fleshed dog. It happens so fast! SO FAST! And it's always different than the dog who came before-- they grow long backs or tall legs, they get so skinny or wide and dense (Millie, I'm looking at you), their snouts get longer or wider, their noses turn brown or pink or stay cold and black, or their ears perk up or droop low, their barks go from that puppy yap to a grown-dog woof... it's spectacular. Never the same.

And, I missed Cassie's biggest growth spurt, you see. When I got her, she looked like this:

Adorable, no?

I left for Scotland when she was nearly four months old. When I came back she was nearly six months old and she looked like this:

Where did my adorable little baby dog GO?!

I thought much the same thing about the Twodles (Mom's pair, Abby and Macy, who were born on the same day back in...late '07, I think). The day we carted them home they looked like this:

Sandy was annoyed by their presence. (Sandy is still largely annoyed by their presence, although she seems to like Cassie and Millie just fine. She even plays with them... she even tries to get THEM to play with HER!)

Today we have this:

Oh, Macy, how embarrassing! Getting caught picking your nose!

Such wonderful creatures, our Doodles. Millie is absolutely no exception. She's a great little girl, and I'm glad every day that John chose her (he does seem to have pretty good taste in women). The day she came home, January 2nd, she was 8 weeks old and she (we) looked like this:


Today... she's just turned five months old, and I'm not wearing any makeup.

Cassie's turning one next month, and Millie will be getting spayed. Time goes so fast...SO fast. But I'm loving who they're becoming, learning their habits, quirks, and traits. And, honestly, I have no idea how big Millie is going to get, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if she was the biggest Doodle in the family. At FIVE MONTHS she weighs the same as Cassie, and just 8lbs. less than Abby! She's nearly as tall as Abby too!

PS: For those of you not interested in our Muttley Crew, I apologize for this incredibly dog-heavy post. I'll stop being so maudlin, I promise, and get back to normal posting starting tomorrow!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh, &*#%@^#*!

There are several things I would like to have accomplished by the time I turn 30. As I just turned 28 in March, I find that my remaining time is growing short. So, in no particular order, here are the things I would like to have done:

#1: Watch Your @*(#^$%ing MOUTH!
Yep. I would like to have obliterated all those coarse words from my vocabulary. I'm trying fairly hard. 'Rats' is my go-to word now. Stubbed my toe trying to find the bathroom in the dark? RATS! Thought I had another Milano double-chocolate cookie, but didn't? RATS! Didn't get the freezer door closed all the way last night, and am now standing in a puddle of defrosted meat blood and ice cream? RATS! Okay, that last one didn't happen today it happened a couple of years ago and I officially did NOT say rats. But if it had happened today, I'm pretty sure I would've said rats. Or maybe 'dagnabbit,' which I am determined to introduce into my now short list of "curse" words. But here's my dilemma... some things in the world need a vehement exclamation. The holocaust wasn't Terribly Sad and Unfortunate-- it was Fucking Horrible. Could I say deplorable? Yes. Disgusting? Also yes. Tragic? Deranged? Unconscionable? Yes, yes, yes. But none of those things accurately convey the LEVEL of disturbance. It wasn't just deplorable, it was completely fucking deplorable. It wasn't just tragic, it was one of the most tragic goddamn occurrences in the modern history of mankind. Hitler and his anti-Judaism cohorts didn't carry out deranged acts, they performed some of the most deranged shit that has ever been thought up. Do you see? Sometimes 'rather unpleasant' doesn't cut it. So, while I will endeavor to keep the swearing at a minimum, I'm not going to leave it out all together. Sometimes it's just necessary.

#2: Get Your Butt Moving!
I'm not in bad shape, that's true. But, I could be in BETTER shape, and that's what I intend to do (sooner rather than later). I figure, as of today, I'm about 5-10lbs. away from my perfect weight, and I'd really like to tone up. To this end, John and I have purchased a treadmill and an elliptical machine. I've used them both a few times, but it's time to GET MY BUTT MOVING! I would like to hit 30 in the best shape of my life, and to accomplish that I have decided that the treadmill and I have to make friends again. Well, I say again but it's not like we were friends to begin with. It's a necessary evil, that treadmill. I hate running. Actually, I hate almost everything that makes me sweat as I tend to turn a particularly alarming shade somewhere between Little Girl's Hot-Pink Hair Ribbons and Boiled-Lobster Red. I loved dancing but hated the dance-world, and I seem to have developed a fear of drowning even though I used to LOVE to swim (can you FORGET how to swim just because a fish touched you? Jeez-Louise, I've never been more frightened in my life!). So... that leaves the treadmill and the elliptical, and (now, this just breaks my heart) a farewell to my daily Dr. Pepper(s). *sniffle* It's going to be a hard few weeks while I de-Dr.Pepper-ize myself. Bear with me, friends and family, I may not be a particularly pleasant person to be around for a while.

#3: WRITE, All Right?
This dissertation has to end. I want it completed to the best of my ability, and I want to be done with it. Now, as the University I attend seems to be having some sort of bitch-fest about what my degree should entail (a PhD. in English Lit. and Creative Writing), I'm under no pretenses about actually receiving a PhD. They don't know what it's supposed to look like, nobody can agree, who the hell knows. So I'm writing something I feel proud of, something that I believe deserves to be written, and if I get a PhD for it--fine, good, super. If I don't, then I'll take another Masters and move on with my life. Which leads me to...

#4: Figure It OUT, Already!
I am 28 years old. I have spent the last five years of my life working towards a goal I don't even want to achieve. I don't want to be a professor. I don't want to be a teacher of any kind. The truth is, I'm not entirely sure what I DO want to do. Ideally, I could open a bakery/sandwich shop, work from the early morning to the early afternoon, and spend the rest of the afternoon holed up in a little room of my own, writing things I want to write just because I want to write them. I don't think that's going to happen, though. I'm afraid it isn't financially sound (at least not where I'm presently situated). So I'm trying to figure out what I could do, what I would enjoy doing, that wouldn't take much more time to accomplish. I can't spend another four years getting a degree. I'm TIRED of GOING to SCHOOL. I'm schooled-out, folks. Seriously. Presently I'm thinking about getting a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, but I don't know. It goes back to #3-- I have to get this done before I start something else.

#5: Mommy?
While I enjoy very, very much being the leader of our small pack of Golden Doodles--I would quite like to meet my own offspring. Especially as I think this Husband-fellow is going to be the Best. Dad. Ever. I'm not in a terrible hurry, but I'd like to be on the road to Mommy-hood at 30. That gives us a couple years to practice, I guess, which is good. You know, practice makes perfect!

I think that's really my main personal goals for the next couple of years. There are other things I would like to see happen, but if I have to wait five years, or even ten--that's okay. Maybe I'll add...
#6... Figure Out How To Get This Husband-Fellow To Agree To Let Me Have Another Puppy For My 30th Birthday...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Expect The Unexpected

I had a lot of things buzzing through my mind today. After a very warm hat tip from an old friend, I realized it was time to get back to blogging. I'll not make excuses, you all understand that life occasionally gets a little chaotic. So I spent the morning pondering how best to catalogue what's happened in the last couple of months... but first I had to get Cayenne Pepper. Like, A LOT OF CAYENNE PEPPER.

Random? Not after I tell you that Cassie and Millie (John's puppy!) have decided they want to be archaeologists when they grow up. At least, I assume that's what they're thinking while they make holes in the yard so big you could lose a Volkswagen in them. I thought about strangling the little brats, but I don't like violence and they're far too cute for that anyway. Instead, I decided to coat their giant damned hole with Cayenne Pepper. Dogs hate it. I hate it, but I'm allergic to it so I figure that's fair. Not massively allergic mind you, but I do get sick every time I ingest any and I get welts wherever it touches my skin. So, there's me wandering the back yard with a sack full of cayenne pepper bottles and an exacto-knife (so that I don't have to open it with my fingers and/or teeth (stupid freshness seals) and risk touching it), feeling pretty smug actually. At least I was thinking I'd stumbled upon a relatively humane way to STOP THE DIGGING.

What I didn't think about was the weather. Just as I was opening a bottle to pour into their favorite hole--GUST OF WIND, FLYING CAYENNE PEPPER! Pepper seemed to magically fly straight from the bottle into my face, and nowhere else. Straight into my eyes. Seriously, I've never felt pain that acute and intense. It was horrific. I was blinded--literally. I couldn't open my eyes. They swelled shut. So I stumbled into the house (tripping over a dog toy and a hose on the way) and proceeded to flood my face with cold water. Now, three hours later, my eyes are still red and swollen but at least my lips don't look like I've had a bad collagen injection. The rest of my face... well it's splotchy, and my nose looks like I'm either supporting Comic Relief or auditioning to be the fifth clown out of the little car. Officially, I'm never peppering the holes again. Somebody else can do it. Somebody not allergic to Cayenne Pepper.

Somebody like... my husband! I suppose that's probably our biggest news. I'm now officially Little Bug Moustache-Coffee-Cup. Has a nice ring, doesn't it? If you can keep a secret, I'll tell you the only thing I dislike about being married. Ready? I miss my maiden name. A lot. It was so suited to me that it's been my nickname for most of my life. Plus, it was short. Punchy. Four little letters. Now I've got this massive long last name and every time I try to sign a check, or a document I end up running out of room. So many letters! Other than that, things are pretty good. Well, other than that and the fact that I may filet my husband's dog... and my dog. GRR!

So, this is Millie:

Oh, come on Millie.

Come out and say hello.

Hello Millie! She's a Golden Doodle from the same breeder that gave us Cassie, Abby, Macy, Sammie and Roxxie (my dog, my mom's dogs, and my aunt's dogs). She'd give you a high five if you wanted one. That seems to be the only trick she likes at the moment. She turned five months old last weekend and, while I still think she's terribly clever, currently she seems to think her mission is less 'search and rescue' and more 'search and destroy.' How many times have I saved my mom's Ugg boots? More than once. More than twice. More than... They live on a high shelf now, actually. She and Cassie have formed a mutual adoration society, and whenever they get the chance they play archaeologists.

The rest of the time they do things like this:

I love it when they do this.

This is where they sit while I try to finish my PhD dissertation. I'm very boring when I write. I don't throw the ball (or goose, or triceratops, or octopus, or knotted-string-thing) with any consistency. I'm disgracefully intermittent with the tummy scratches, and treats are few and far between. This is how they look at me when I apologize and say I have to get back to writing. This is how doggies look disappointed. Can't you tell?