Monday, December 31, 2012

Being taunted by a cat

I have a two-story house.  The front upstairs bedroom overlooks the street.  I have my sewing machine in there, but since I only sew a couple times a year, 99% of the time the room belongs to the dogs.

There is a loveseat facing the window where the dogs lay and look out over their kingdom.  Or they stand at the window and watch for intruders.  I previously posted a photo:  Bogie on guard duty  The streaks are the inevitable dog nose smudges.

If I am home when intruders are spied (usually other dogs), there is a brief spate of barking, then they will rush to me so I can see how efficiently they have done their job.  Once I assure them that they are good dogs and have done a good job, all is well and quiet resumes.


Today there was frantic whining.  I went to see what was the problem but saw no one on the street.  However, no amount of reassurance would calm the whining.

Suddenly, cacophonous barking fills the bedroom.  A cat is walking in the yard across the street.  Angel tones it down to a whine, but Bogie is baying these loud, deep bass barks.

The cat disappears behind a bush and the barking becomes whining again.  No amount of persuasion can move either dog from the window.  

The cat moves and the barking resumes.  The cat hides and the whining takes over.

Each time the cat moves out into the open, it looks at the window at the dogs.  Yes, the barking is loud enough to attract attention, but the cat does not flee.

Instead, it lingers, staring at the window.  It  appears to be enjoying the reaction it is getting.

I think it is deliberately taunting the dogs.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Very weird, vivid dream

Very weird, very vivid dream last night.

I was leading a group of 2 or 3 other women of varying ages as we were trying to hide from a threat.  The threat was a woman, humanoid, but not human - Smollet.  Yeah, I don’t know where the name came from either.  With two T's, it's a Scottish writer of adventure novels, but I had never heard of him. 

We were hiding in a building or subdivision under construction, going from room to room or building to building looking for a secure place to hide.

The Smollet had teeth like a piranha.  She was slim, had long brown hair in a ponytail, wore jeans and a button down shirt and had a bluish aura.  Other than the teeth and blue aura, she was kind of me.

While fleeing, alone this time, I ran into a workman in coveralls, carrying insulation over his shoulder, who was only nominally curious, looking at me with no real expression.

I hurried on, watching him over my shoulder, and met up with the group again.  We were still looking for a safe place to hide.

Alone again, I ran into the man laying insulation on a flooring area that must have been a roof for another area.  I looked at him and he looked at me and opened his mouth.

He was a Smollet too!  Only his aura was red and I realized he wasn't looking at me.  He was looking over my shoulder.  At the woman Smollet, sneaking up behind me.

He went to confront her.  They were circling each other like prize fighters while I fled in the opposite direction.  And woke up.

The dream dictionaries say that dreams about hiding mean I'm not facing up to a situation or dealing with an issue. 

Possibly.  The company I work for is being shopped around.  Whether a new owner would be better or worse remains to be seen. Maybe it bothers me more than I consciously realize?

Or maybe I just watch too much Doctor Who? 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I do have time to write a book

I realized today that, according to Microsoft Word, my journal for this year is 430 pages long.  It seems I have been particularly loquacious this year.  Last year's journal finished at 308 pages.

I've often thought I should write a book.  I have a couple of ideas and even a couple of chapters written.  But I keep telling myself I don't have the time.

Well, obviously I do.  Four hundred pages would have been a pretty substantial book. 

(We're ignoring quality at this moment.)

If I devoted equal time to fiction as I do chronicling the mudanity of my life, I would have a first draft completed in a year.

But I can't stop journaling.  Would you believe I had forgotten creating two stained glass projects this year until I scanned my journal?  That's how bad my sense of time is.

My memory for facts and trivia is quite good.  But I never have understood how people can remember the dates they did things on, or even the year.  

I journal to give me a place to look things up.

So any writing would have to be in addition to my journal.  The time I spend journaling doesn't seem substantial.  So maybe adding an equal amount of time to fiction wouldn't seem so ominous.  

I could journal a little less,  fiction a little more.  

It's a thought.  Maybe a New Year's resolution. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Red nose for a white wire deer

I am particularly pleased that I figured out how to modify a string of Christmas lights to have only one working bulb.

I had just rewired my last Christmas deer, converting it to LED bulbs. (Restringing an outdoor lighted deer)  But I wanted him to have a red nose like Rudolph.  I could have swapped out the tiny clear LED bulb at the tip of his nose for a tiny red one.  But what I wanted was a bigger, more impressive bulb.  Not a giant C6 bulb, but a reasonable 7mm bulb.

I can be kind of obsessive when I want something.  So I had no qualms about cannibalizing a perfectly good string of multi-color lights to make my nose.

Side note - I could have sworn Christmas lights used to be available in stores right up until Christmas.  I looked at 3 stores before I found the colored strand of lights I needed 11 days before Christmas.

Anyway.  I tested the lights and they worked just fine.  Then I cut the wires a foot from the plug.  I had coincidentally ended up with a socket 10 inches from the deer's nose. So a foot would give me plenty of wire to work with.

This was a three wire strand.  After stripping the wires, I tested different combinations of twisting the wires together, trying to get the bulb to light up again.  When I twisted all three wires together and plugged it in, there was a spark.

Thanks to the Internet, I learned that only two of the wires needed to be twisted together.  But it didn't matter which ones I twisted together.  The bulb wouldn't light.

Eventually I realized there were fuses in the plug and I'd blown them.  Helpfully, the manufacturer included one fuse in the package with the lights.  But there were two fuses in the plug.

I dug through my Christmas containers until I found the fuse tester and a baggie of spare fuses.  Of course, the batteries in the fuse tester were bad and had to be replaced before I could use it.

Yep, both fuses were bad.  I replaced them both with fuses tested and proven to be good.  Replacing these is not a piece of cake. The fuses are about the size of a grain of rice.

But when the fuses were replaced, the bulb lit up!

The working configuration has the bulb line and middle line twisted together.  The outside line is only needed for stringing light strands together.  I cut that one short and taped the end to isolate it.  I taped everything together and installed it at the deer's nose.

Was it worth the trouble?  

I think so. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Odd Christmas Decoration

OK.  I'm all for gaudy and extravagant holiday lights.  But I must admit to being confused by some of the light sculptures available.  Reindeer, snowmen, elves, and angels make sense.  Penguins and polar bears kind of make sense in that they are both found in snowy climes.  Christmas moose is, I think, supposed to be a pun.

But a lawnmower?  Seriously.  And the reindeer isn't even mowing grass in the picture.  He's mowing snow.  Shouldn't he have a snow blower?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Watching the destruction

I haven't written a post yet about my doggy cams, but yesterday I discovered there is a down side to being able to watch your dogs from the office.

I watched, helplessly, as Bogie carried something into the loft and proceeded to destroy it.  The camera has no zoom so I wasn't able to get a better look at what was being rent, stepped on, and laid on.

At least I was prepared when I got home and found - a bag of bows ripped open.

A co-worker who saw my feed said I should punish Bogie.  I disagree.  People child-proof their homes so toddlers who don't understand the rules can't get hurt.  Knowing Bogie has a penchant for bags, I should have remembered to close the closet door.

So I picked up the debris, and discovered that most of the bows were undamaged.  I put them safely away in a plastic container.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Okay, just to be clear, I'm not being reimbursed for this.  But when I find a product that works for me, I like to share that information.  

I have had migraines since puberty.  One of my triggers is scent.  Mostly I'm affected by strong scents, but sometimes lighter scents can be triggers. Air fresheners and scented candles are like kryptonite to me. 

Because of this, I have problems with most household cleaners.  It was a grand day for me when Tide created an unscented variation of their laundry detergent.  But most cleaners are scented.  Some are heavily scented.  Some say they are unscented but really add a masking scent, which for me is worse than the original scent may have been.

So when my niece told me that she had found some microfiber cleaning cloths that work with just water, I was intrigued.  Skeptical, but intrigued.  I use microfiber cloths for some cleaning, and for polishing my glass projects, so I thought I knew microfiber. 

As the e-cloth website says "The best microfiber cloths on the market have between 90,000 and 200,000 fibers per square inch (MOST cloths being sold only have 25,000-75,000).  e-cloths have 1.6 Million fibers per inch

What surprised me was that there are different cloths for different cleaning actions.  I bought a multi-pack to try. When I received them, I saw that the cloths all had different textures and weaves.

I tried the window cloth first and was an immediate convert.  The cloth has a waffle texture.  It cleans windows and mirrors with only water.  And leaves no streaks.  I've discovered that having only to dampen a cloth has led me to keep the dog nose prints off my windows more diligently.

The dusting cloth was next.  It may capture more of the dust and dog hair, but I'm not completely convinced it's better than other microfiber cloths.  So I can take or leave this one. 

The furniture cloth appealed to me. I have micro-suede couches that are the worse for wear because I let the dogs on them.  I vacuumed the couches first, using a beater attachment.  Then I used the furniture cloth.  It's quite plush on one side.  The amount of dirt it removed from my couch was astounding.  I liked that I didn't need to use soap, which is hard to rinse out of a couch.  

The kitchen cloth did an amazing job removing grease from the chrome part of my toaster.  (It used to sit next to a deep fryer.)  I've tried many cleaners, but not wanting to scratch the chrome limited my options.  There is a scrubby corner on the kitchen cloth that made short work of the grease, without scratching. 

Lastly, I've tried the bathroom cloth on my bathtub/shower enclosure.  The cloth made short work of the soap scum around the tub and on the shower doors.  Granted, there was some elbow grease involved, but no chemicals. 

The website says the cloths can be washed 300 times.  I've yet to wash mine as rinsing them out has been sufficient.  Even if you washed them weekly, that would be almost 6 years. 

They're a little pricey, but when you factor in their reported longevity and the lack of chemical cleaners needed, I think they are cost effective in the long run. 

My two cents. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's not just plastic bags

I got a package from Amazon, put the contents away, and left the box, forgotten, on the office side chair. 

I wasn't concerned because, well, because it's a box.  Bogie's affinity has been for plastic bags.  

Obviously, the box intrigued him.  But I don't think it fascinated him for long.  He could have done a more thorough job of destroying it. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sweet pain

Last night, I was sitting on the bed playing solitaire on my phone.  Bogie lay at my feet with his paw on top of my ankle.

Now, in the five months I've had him, he has only been sporadically cuddly.  He loves to stand next to me and be petted, but getting him to lay or sit next to me has been hit or miss.

So I was thrilled when he wanted to touch me as he lay next to me.


His paw pads have the texture of extra coarse sandpaper.  

And gravity being what it is, his paw was sliding down my ankle.  


A millimeter at a time.


Scraping against the tender skin as it wended its way downward.

I breathed a sigh of relief when his paw finally landed on the bed.

I never once considered making him move.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bogie and the kitchen garbage

When I left for the gym, I didn't get the door closed completely on the cupboard where I keep the garbage can.  The angle on the doggy cam wasn't good, but it was good enough to prove it was Bogie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bored to tears

Sitting here, I wonder, Have I ever truly been "bored to tears"?  Has anyone?

I mean, seriously.  Have you ever been so bored that you cried?  I haven't.

So, being bored, but not in tears, I decided to look up the etymology of the phrase. All I could find was the definition, which I already knew.  Bored to tears means very bored.  Duh!

But doesn't it mean more?  To me it means being very bored and being unable to do anything about it.  It means being in a place you can't escape and without the option of playing games on your smart phone.

It's the futility of the situation that deserves the "to tears" qualification.

Sigh.  I don't do bored well.

I've been "bored silly", resorting to being goofy or making jokes to entertain myself.   Can't say I've ever been "bored stiff".  Quite the opposite actually.  I tend to get fidgety when I'm bored. 

I did find an interesting article from today that said you can truly, truly be "bored to death".  Or at least an earlier death.

The second paragraph does not bode well for me. "Researchers say that people who complain of boredom are more likely to die young,"  Except that I don't resort to  "such unhealthy habits as smoking or drinking,"

I turn to the Internet.  Which may or may not be more healthy.  But at least it doesn't affect your lungs or liver.

I did learn that Bored to Tears is a song, Bored Silly is a movie, Bored to Death is an HBO series. and Bored Stiff is a band.  

See all the things you can learn when you are bored! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Uncomfortable position - you would think

While I was reading, Bogie was napping.  On the landing.  With his head hanging over.  And his nose smushed on the stair below.

It looks like an uncomfortable position, but this isn't the first time he has lain like this.  

Just the first time I've been able to get a picture. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bogie - on guard duty

Bogie and Angel like to watch out over the street from the second floor window.  No one, human or canine, walks on the sidewalk past our house without a verbal greeting/warning.

 The streaks on the glass are the ever-present,  mysteriously reappearing nose prints. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Typical car ride with the dogs

Angel and Bogie *love* to go for car rides.  I generally break my grocery shopping into two trips so I can take them for a ride both weekend mornings.

My motive is basically selfish.  I had a Lhasa mix that never rode in the car except to go to the groomer or the vet.  Whenever he got into the car, he would start a high pitched whine that didn't stop until we got to our destination.

When Peanut was alive, she would only look out of the passenger side rear window.  I managed to train Angel to only look out of the driver side.  Angel entered the car first from the passenger side, headed to her window, and stayed there.

Now, Angel is having a hard time adjusting to Bogie as a car-mate.  I have so far been unable to convince him to only look out of the passenger side.

Oh, he starts there.  He just doesn't stay there.

We will be driving down the road in my compact car.  Angel has her head hanging out the driver side rear window.  Bogie has his out the passenger side.  Everyone is happy.

Then Bogie sees something on the driver side.  He moves to that window, taking the outside edge of the back seat and crushing Angel against the seat back.

In the rear view mirror, I can see her backing away from the window, struggling against Bogie's superior weight.  At no point does Bogie even consider giving her more space.

Angel frees herself and sits in the back seat. With her back to the passenger rear window.  She will crane her head to sniff the air, but at no point will she actually turn around to face the window.

I'm probably being anthropomorphic, but to me she looks sad, and resigned.

Then Bogie will decide he wants to look out the passenger window.  He turns and switches sides.  Angel is facing the correct direction and forces her way to "her" window to hang her head out.

This complete rotation happens at least once per fifteen minute trip.  Sometimes more.

And still, Angel is thrilled when I say "Car ride?".

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I devote more and more time to body maintenance

When did body maintenance get so complicated?  The older I get the more time it takes to keep my body functional and reasonably fit.    

The morning starts with exercises.  Well, actually it starts with dog petting.  But after affection is sufficiently dispensed, I do exercises. I do crunches for core strength, triceps push-ups to counteract granny flap, and back exercises for my shoulders to counteract computer hunch. 

Next I use prescription eye drops for dry eye. Then I put salicylic acid on my chin for acne.  Acne that I never had as a teenager, mind you. It hardly seems fair that I get it now.  Although, honestly, it would have bothered me more back then. 

Then there is collagen for the deep wrinkles between my eyes caused by squinting because I'm too lazy to grab my reading glasses.  If the wrinkles get too deep, they actually start to hurt.  No one warned me about that.   

Recently I started using spot lightener to counteract the years of my misspent youth when I didn't use sun screen.  But honestly, no one had heard of sun screen when I was a kid.  The jury is still out on whether the spot lightener works. 

After that moisturizers on my cheeks which I don't dare apply to my chin, unless I want more of the aforementioned acne.  The facial moisturizer is too light to fight turkey neck.  So I use a different, thicker moisturizer on my neck.  

Of course, I floss and brush my teeth. I want to have my real teeth when I turn 80.  Well, one is already a crown, but the rest are real and I want to keep it that way. 

Sigh.  Then downstairs to take my vitamins and pills.  I take vitamins to keep my brain clear, to strengthen my bones, to lubricate my muscles, and to give me energy.  Plus a probiotic and a pill for erosive esophagitis caused by too many years of aspirin use. 

Besides all this, I go to the gym four days a week to keep my blood pressure and cholesterol under control, and to maintain a general fitness level.  I'm told I should be going five days a week. Seriously?  I need time to actually enjoy the life I am working so hard to maintain. 

At this rate, by the time I'm 80, my entire day will be devoted to maintaining my health.  

It's no wonder people retire from work.  They don't have time to spare.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Startling noises

Standing at the kitchen sink, I hear a rumbling shudder.

What in the world?

No heavy trucks drive in this neighborhood.  No delivery trucks start rounds at 6 AM.

Did the closet rod collapse upstairs?  Again?

Next, I hear a long scratching sound.

Sigh. It's Bogie.

First, he planted his shoulder against the hall wall with a resounding thud.  Then he dragged his head and shoulder along the length of the wall, his collar scratching against the drywall.

He's like a cat rubbing itself against the furniture.  Only ten times bigger.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Isn't flushable a requirement for toilet paper?

I noticed this helpful notice on the toilet paper I bought this weekend. Somehow I don't think of  "flushable" as worthy of note. 

Isn't that like saying a can opener "opens cans" or a pad of paper is "writable"? 

What good would toilet paper be if it wasn't flushable?  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Stuffed hedge hog lasted fifteen minutes - tops

I bought two new dog toys yesterday morning.  But I didn't intend to give them to the dogs until evening when I would want some peace and quiet to read.  I hid the plastic bag on top of the dryer, behind a bucket that I was using to soak a cleaning rag. 

Late afternoon, I am quietly reading in the living room when I hear a rustle and see Bogie hurrying across the family room and out the doggy door.  

I rush outside to see what's going on.  He has retrieved the bag of toys and is trying to extricate one from the bag.  I grab the bag from him so I can remove the hang tags.  

I present him with the hedge hog. Angel gets the zebra.  

Within 15 minutes, this is the scene - an exhausted, but thoroughly happy, Bogie and what remains of a stuffed hedge hog.  

The lamb in the background was purchased more than 4 months ago before I had Bogie.  For some reason, it has survived intact. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Shatterproof" ?

I think my definition of "shatterproof" differs from the manufacturer of the plastic canister I store dog treats in.

Granted, it cost me under $10.  But one of the reasons I bought it was the prominent "Shatterproof" sticker on the side.

Mind you, it said "Shatterproof", not "Shatter resistant".

So I was unconcerned when the empty canister slipped from my hands and hit the tile floor.

Only now it looks like this:

So basically, this canister is shatterproof - until you drop it.  

So is china.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY window sills

I moved to Arizona from the Midwest.  There all the windows were framed in wood.  Here, at least all the houses I've seen, the windows are framed in drywall.

Drywall is okay for walls.  But as a window sill, it has its limitations.  Mainly, it isn't impervious to water.  Between leaving the windows open in the rain and dog drool, 4 of my drywall sills have been pretty much destroyed.

The final straw was when a stained glass portrait fell onto the sill, denting the underlying metal and destroying the drywall.  That would have been a hassle to repair.  (The stained glass survived unscathed.)

So I decided to install bottom sills of wood.  They would be easy to refinish if they were water damaged, but with a polyurethane coating, not likely to need it.  I didn't want to do the entire window frame in wood as that would have required my blinds to be recut.

In hind sight, I wish I had thought to take pictures of the step by step process.  But before and after photos will have to do.

The lucky thing for me was the depth of the sills were exactly the width of a board.  I went with 1" boards, as it was the exact depth from the drywall to the edge of the sliding window frame.  Three sills needed 1 x 4 boards and one needed a 1 x 6 board.

(In case you don't know, a 1 x 4 is neither 1" deep nor 4" wide.  Closer to 7/8" and 3 1/2".  Don't ask me why. It just is.)

Having the boards the exact width I needed meant I didn't have to consider buying a table saw to cut the boards to width.  I also picked up a nice simple triangle-shaped molding to attach to the front that made a routered edge unnecessary.

All I had to do was cut the board and molding to the correct length.  I pre-drilled the nail holes to fasten the boards to the bottom sill and the molding to the boards.  That prevented the wood from splitting.

A little putty to fill in the nail holes.  A couple coats of polyurethane and stain combined and the sills look much, much better.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hazards of leaving the patio door open

When I work from home, my desk is in the loft and behind me is a bedroom containing a sewing machine and a love seat that the dogs lay on to look out the window. 

I heard a scrabbling at the bedroom window.  

Since I could see Bogie laying down, I assumed Angel was clawing at the glass.  She used to do that when she saw a dog walking on the sidewalk in front of the house.  But she hasn't done it in a while. 

I got up and entered the bedroom, intending to scold Angel.  She wasn't there. Instead, there was a small red house finch fluttering at the window. 

I carefully crossed the room to get to the window.  I didn't want to startle it.  I've chased a sparrow through the house for an hour in the past.  (Yes, I know.  I never learn.)

I started to slide the glass window open and planned to remove the screen to shoo the finch outside.  But when I moved the window, the finch didn't try to escape. Instead, it just moved a little closer to the corner of the window sill. 

I wondered, Maybe I could rescue it without removing the screen.  I moved carefully toward it, with my hands cupped and scooped it up from above.

It didn't even try to escape.  

I could feel the tiny heart beating double-time in its chest, but it didn't struggle. I worried that I had its wings in an awkward position, but didn't want to risk re-positioning it.  

The tiny little finch made no noise. That meant we could walk past Bogie without drawing his attention to my hands.  As always, Bogie followed me out to the patio, but never realized I was carrying a living creature. 

I went to set the finch on the patio table, figuring it would need a moment to gather its wits.  But as soon as I opened my hands it flew away.  

Probably to tell its little birdie buddies how he braved the giant’s house and survived. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Self- acceptance, an on-going process

I know people who are completely comfortable in their own skins and could care less what other people think about them.

I wish I was one of those.

I'm okay with my personality.  While I am stubborn and impatient, I am smart, kind, compassionate, and reasonably talented.  I would like a little more ambition, but I'm okay without it.

It's my physical appearance that I find lacking.  I'm not ugly.  I'm plain.  In this culture where youth and beauty are defined by the media, I don't measure up.

Mind you, my shortcomings don't bother me enough to do anything about it.  I don't wear makeup.  It makes me itch.  I don't dress fashionably.  I dress for comfort.  I wear jeans, sneakers, and camp shirts to work because I prefer my skills take center stage over my appearance.

By societal standards, I need to lose weight, but it doesn't bother me enough to give up cookies or chips and salsa to be skinnier.   Still, when I see other people at the gym that are tanned, free of freckles and age spots, and not pudgy, I feel inferior.

Sometimes, briefly, I reach the desired level of acceptance of my appearance.  I realize that people like me for who I am and how I treat them, not for what I look like.

This most recent dismay was prompted by seeing myself in a video testimonial I did for my gym.  It was taken before a class, so I didn't make any effort to spruce up.  Also, I talk with my hands, but my hands weren't shown,. Apparently my head twitches when I move my hands, so it looked like I was having a seizure. .

Looking at the video, I decided that people who tell me I look younger than my age are just being gracious.  I thought I looked every year of my age.

Should it matter to me?  No.
Does it matter?  Unfortunately.
Am I still a good person? Of course.

Is self-acceptance genetic or is it something that can be learned?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Angel, the follower

Angel is a submissive dog.  Peanut was dominant and Angel was fine with that.  Bogie is now dominant, and unless he is getting too rambunctious, Angel is fine with that, too.

What I hadn't realized was how much her behavior is dictated by her pack mate.

Peanut was afraid of the vacuum cleaner, she ran barking to the front door when the doorbell rang, was nervous at the vet, and wouldn't cooperate enough to have her teeth brushed.

Angel had these same characteristics when I adopted her.  I thought they were part of her personality.

So I was amazed after Peanut died that when the doorbell rang, Angel said - nothing.  She went to the door with me, but didn't bark.  Her barking was in support of Peanut's decision to bark.

Bogie also doesn't bark when the doorbell rings, so I am no longer bombarded by a cacophony of noise when the doorbell rings.  And any solicitors that ignore the No Soliciting sign are shocked when I open the door and two large, silent dogs stare at them through the screen door.

Bogie is so unafraid of the vacuum that he follows me from room to room, generally standing on the electrical cord.  This weekend, I was surprised to see Angel standing near me while I vacuumed, instead of hiding outside.  She even let me reach over and pet her without turning off the vacuum.  Progress!

Angel's behavior at the vet was the most revealing instance of her follower mentality.  Bogie is too laid back to care that he is at the vet, despite the multiple visits we've made since I got him.  Since he's relaxed, so is Angel.  So much so, that the vet and technician commented on how friendly and calm she was.  Angel greeted them, wanted petted, and begged  for treats.  In the past, she has hidden behind me.

Angel is devoted to Bogie, despite her being older and having the longer tenure.  When he goes outside, she follows.  If I give them a treat and he spits his out, she does the same.  She won't fetch, but she brings toys to me to throw - for him to chase.

It appears that, for good or ill, dogs are also affected by their peer group.  I'm just glad Angel's peer group is a laid-back Great Dane who loves everyone.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bogie, learning more every day

Surprisingly, I have had Bogie for less than 4 months.  It seems like he has been a part of my family for much longer.  At 15 months old when I got him, he was civilized but not particularly trained.

He doesn't take food, even if I set it on the counter and briefly leave the room. He loves to be combed or sponged down.  He doesn't mind having his teeth brushed.  These things I didn't have to teach him.  Someone took care of him before he ended up on the street.

But, based on the vet's determination that he had never been taught the command Sit, I figured he had very little, if any, formal training.

So it amazes me how much he has already learned.

He's learned Stop, both in the sense of don't go any further when we are walking, and don't do whatever it is that you are currently doing.

He will Stay, but only for a moment.  He understands Sit, Shake, Cross (the street), That's enough (similar to Stop, but generally used for barking), and Come Here.

He'll Move if I tell him to, but he generally moves in the same direction I am trying to go.  He's getting better at Heel.  He sort of understands Don't Pull, when he is tugging on the leash.  He knows Get In the Back means No, you may not ride in the front seat of the car.

He knows You Missed Some means he didn't clean his food bowl.  Out! means don't you dare come inside with a pigeon in your mouth.

He knows not to run out the front door.  But like a small boy who is told not to touch his sister, and instead kicks her, he assumes gates don't count.  (Thus the escape last week)

He astonishes me every week with his intelligence and willingness to learn.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Can Bogie be trusted off-leash?

The short answer - no.  The long answer - No, nope, no way, negatory, absolutely not.

I had completely forgotten that Wolff Mechanical was coming to service the heat pump. The service man, Ralph, arrived promptly at 8.  Fortunately, he’s a dog lover because Bogie gave him the full-on love treatment, which includes leaning on and trying to put his paws on Ralph’s shoulders.

Bogie is getting better behaved, until there are new people around.  Bogie adores people.  Which means it isn't likely he was abused in his past life. 

I went around the outside to open the RV gate for Ralph.  I wasn't watching Bogie closely enough and he took off.  I wasn't too concerned, irritated, but not concerned when he went north to the bend.  After only a short while, he came back to me and I thought, well, now we’re making progress.  But as I reached for him he took off down the street to the west.  Then I got worried. 

didn't run after him.  That makes dogs think you're playing a game, but I walked fast and yelled.  At one point, I thought he was going to come back.  

But he high-tailed down the street, turning into a couple yards to check them out.  I had hoped he would get to the end of the sidewalk, where we normally turn back and return.  But instead he turned left into the cul-de-sac.  I expected him to walk around the curve and come back.  When he didn't I started to run.

I met a small group coming back from walking their dog in the basin.  But they hadn't seen him.  By now I was really worried.  That meant he headed to Ellsworth Road.  Traffic.  People.  Danger.

I hurried out to Ellsworth, looked down the road and saw a person walking two dogs, one black, one white. On the *other* side of Ellsworth.  On the other side of *busy* Ellsworth.  Across four lanes of traffic. 

I hoped the large, white dog was Bogie. I hurried to meet them.  The woman was walking her Rottweiler on a leash and Bogie was walking with them.  When he saw me, he hurried to see me, but  tried to pull away when I grabbed his collar. 

The woman was nice, said she had been worried about what to do with him if she didn't see anyone.  I explained I hadn't had him long and he wasn't complete trained.  I didn't want her to think I was a bad pet parent.   

I got a good grip on his collar and muscled him into a semblance of a Heel all the way back to the house.  I also kept telling him over and over how disappointed and scared I was.  He just looked at me, tongue hanging out, clearly having enjoyed his impromptu romp. 

Back at the house, Ralph and Angel were just doing their things. I made a point of ignoring Bogie since shunning has been a good punishment in the past.  It wasn't as effective when Ralph was there to pay attention to him. 

After Ralph left, Bogie was so tired he just laid down to nap. I don't think he even knows he's being ignored.  


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dogging my footsteps

After doing my household chores this morning, I now have first-hand experience with the phrase "dogging my footsteps."

I vacuumed the downstairs and Bogie followed behind me every step I took, frequently standing on the electrical cord.

I mopped the floor to remove the muddy footprints and dirt clods left behind by Angel when she dug up a cherished rawhide.  Bogie watched every swipe of the mop, from in front of me.  I kept asking him to move out of the way.  He followed me to the sink every time I rinsed the mop.

I sanded a new window sill on the family room window.  This involved moving the end table and easy chair from in front of the windows.  Not once, but twice, Bogie followed me behind the furniture, getting tangled up in the cords and knocking the stereo speaker off the table.  (To be honest, I knocked it off once myself, whereupon I left it on the floor until I was done.)

Upstairs to mop the bathroom floor.  I rinsed the mop in the bathtub and he stuck his face in the tub to watch.  I tried to open the closet door and he was standing in front of it.  But he moved when prompted.

Every step I took, he was right beside me.  Which is sweet.

And a little annoying.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bogie is starting to get it - I think

I am so proud. (misty eyes, hand over heart) This morning, during our walk, Bogie was pulling at the end of the leash, looking at something I couldn't see.  

I said, calmly, "No pulling."

He came back to me, sat down, and cried, as we watched a cat cross the street half a block away.  

I didn't even have him on a tight leash.

On the other hand, Tuesday he was up to mischief. 

I came home from work and first thing I noticed was the cloth napkin laying on the floor in front of the doggy door.  He had taken it off the counter.  

Looked left into the kitchen and saw one of the stainless steel dog food bowls laying in the middle of the kitchen, face down.  Bogie had taken it out of the sink.  I have no idea why.  It was obviously empty.  And his dry food bowl was full. 

As usual, I went outside to put food in the bird feeder and top off everyone’s water.  As I walked across the grass, I saw something black.  I picked it up and realized it was Bogie’s collar.  

I hadn't even noticed he wasn't wearing it.  

Now, I don’t make Angel wear a collar, but I haven’t had to pull her down from the counter or hold her back to keep her from jumping up on a guest.  And that is kind of hard to do without a “handle”.  Bogie willingly let me put the collar back around his neck.  It did slip over his head without being unfastened.

Upstairs to change my clothes. 

I keep the paper shredder and its waste can between the desk and a side chair, in front of the waste can I use for office trash.  

Both were tipped over.  The shredded paper had mostly stayed in the container, but at least a page full had fallen out and needed to be picked up. 

The office can was missing its liner.  That was laying in the middle of the loft with a hole in it.  Fortunately, I had recently emptied the trash so there wasn't much in it.  But I found an empty air can clear across the room.  Did he shake the bag?  I can see him doing it in my mind. 

Then I noticed the floor fan laying face down.  Of course it was still running.  I’m sure it was collateral damage from a game of chase or wrestling.  The fan now clanks if it isn't set up just right or if  I try to move it without shutting it off.

Lastly, my shorts were taken off the dresser and laid on the closet floor.  Not damaged, just moved.

These are the hazards of having a bored “teenage” Great Dane. 

But it makes for great stories, and he makes me laugh. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's not a rut, it's a routine.

I was once accused of being in a rut because I do the same things, in the same order, every morning.

That's not a rut, that's a routine. It's a subtle difference.  Per, a rut is a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life,usually dull or unpromising. 

To me the difference between rut and routine is the "dull or unpromising" addendum.  A rut is something you do repeatedly for no particular reason.  

I freely admit that my lunch menu is in a rut.  I have eaten tuna and mayonnaise for lunch almost every work day for the past 8 years.  About a year ago, I switched from crackers to celery sticks for the side.  It's a rut, but one that frees me from having to decide what to have for lunch.  And being in this lunch rut causes me no harm.  

What my morning consists of is a routine, designed to maximize my limited pre-work time and prevent me from forgetting to do a necessary task.  It is not a good start to your work day if you walk out to the car and realize you didn't make your lunch or forgot to feed the dogs. 

So my morning is a predictable, reliable, but not "dull or unpromising" routine.  I wake up and pet the dogs.  I do my morning exercises, if I'm not already sore and achy.  I floss and brush my teeth.  I put in my eye drops.  I get dressed.  We go downstairs.  I turn on the floor and ceiling fans.  I walk the dogs around the subdivision. 

I make my lunch and take my vitamins while the dogs wind down.  I feed the dogs, wash out their bowls.  I have breakfast and read the newspaper.  I turn on the TV to entertain the dogs in my absence, and check the food level in the dry food bowl.  I lay out treats to keep them occupied.  I leave for work. 

There are only slight variations on the routine for weekend mornings.  These are things that need to get done every day.  Having a particular order of execution makes it easier to remember where I am in the process.  I know if I skip directly to feeding the dogs after the walk, I will invariably forget to take my vitamins. 

There have been recent studies that indicate we only have the capacity for a small number of decisions during any one day.  If we use them all up early in the day, our ability to make wise choices later in the day deteriorates.  

My morning routine frees up my decision-making capacity for the late afternoon, important decisions.  

Like what to have for dinner. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A day with the dogs

Anyone who has read my blog lately will think my world revolves around my two dogs.  Well, actually I think it does.  Especially since I got Bogie three months ago.  I would claim that he monopolizes my attention because he is so big.  But my sister has a 9 pound Shih Tzu that is the center of her household.  Apparently size doesn't matter as much as attitude.  Or maybe, youth.

I can't say this was a typical day, but it's close.  I laughed often.

In the morning, I gave Bogie and Angel new toys.  One was a hard, S-shaped Nylabone toy intended as a rawhides replacement, that neither seemed to want.  The other was a Durable pink fabric dragon that Bogie adored.  I threw it down the stairs a few times but Bogie skidded on the tile floor at the bottom.  As funny as it was, I worried he would get hurt.  After that, I threw it into the bedroom so he had a carpeted path.  

Bogie was the epitome of Heel, all day, shadowing me every step I took as I watered the trees, filled the bird feeders, put the clothes in the washer, hanged the clothes out to dry.  But I can't get him to do Heel when I want him to.

The pink dragon was so popular that I figured I needed two.  While out running errands, I bought a blue one. Got home, put the packages on the counter.

Walked 14 feet to set my purse on the bookshelf.  Around a corner, but barely out of sight of the kitchen.

Back to the kitchen and Bogie was helping himself to the blue dragon.  He even got it out of the plastic shopping bag.  He let me take it so I could cut off the tags, but wouldn't let Angel have it.  Didn’t growl, just kept it out of her reach.

Later, Bogie was resting after a vigorous game of Fetch with the blue dragon. Angel picked up the Nylabone. I thought, cool, at least someone is interested in the hard toys.

No. She presented it to Bogie.  Who took it, then set it back down between his paws.

I had put a bunch of the filthy, old, stuffed dogs toys into the washer.  I took them from the washer to put into the dryer.  Bogie put his head in the dryer to see what I was doing.  I shooed him back.  Put another handful into the dryer.  As I turned to the washer to get the last few toys, Bogie put his head in the dryer, grabbed a damp toy, and ran off to the family room.

Bedtime.  Bogie got up, went downstairs, and got the blue dragon and brought it back to bed with him.  I was drifting off to sleep when I heard it squeak.  Startled the heck out of me.  But only one more squeak before I fell asleep.

The next morning, Bogie carried the blue dragon downstairs with him.  When Bogie finished his breakfast, instead of lurking over Angel waiting for leftovers, he got the blue dragon and we played fetch a few times.

All day, Bogie wandered around with the blue dragon in his mouth. He brought it over to me while I was trying to eat breakfast, and again at lunch time,  so I would throw it.

 Car ride to get groceries. I bought non-perishable items to take to work. I put the bag on the bookshelf next to my purse.  Bogie generally restricts himself to taking dog stuff, so I wondered if he would leave the bag alone.

I was upstairs on the computer when I heard a rustle and a small crash.  Went downstairs and sure enough, Bogie had pulled the grocery bag of tuna and cookies off the shelf.

No guilty looks here.  He just grinned as if to say, it was heavier than I expected.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Side by Side

Bogie laid down first.  Angel went over to lay next to him.  She has quickly become very attached to him.

The tiles are one foot square, so you can get an idea of the size of the dogs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Signs and omens

I believe in signs and omens.  If I have a decision to make, I will pose a question to the universe and get its opinion.

It can be something as trivial as which road to take home.  I tell myself, if the next 3 cars go straight, I will turn.  And I feel that I must turn if the conditions are met.  What's the point of asking for signs if you don't heed them?

I was contemplating a new vacuum, deciding whether to get one if I got a year-end bonus.  I was offered an interest free loan and a good price for the vacuum.  I took that as a sign I should get it.  I've been thrilled with my Dyson ever since.

Saturday, I felt pretty crappy, but was supposed to meet a friend at the gym for two hours of classes followed by lunch.  I was wavering when I heard the text message alert on my phone.  I figured it was my friend.

I told myself that if she had to cancel lunch, I was staying home.  If not, I was going.  Well, she wasn't cancelling, so I went to the gym, worked out hard, and felt better by the time we went to lunch.

Most of the time I have no way of knowing whether the decision I made was the correct one or not.  There is not way to tell if the commute home would have been better or worse via the alternate route.  That's true whether or not you believe in signs.

Mumbo jumbo?  Maybe.  Still, I feel better watching for signs.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The vet, encouraging bad behavior in Bogie.

We were at the vet for a followup visit when Bogie stood up on the counter.  The vet thought he looked so cool that she wanted a picture and encouraged him to do it again.  Fortunately, he's smart enough to know that it's still not acceptable at home.

Thanks to Dr.Jill Patt at Alta Mesa Animal Hospital for the photo.  AltaMesaAnimalHospital

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How do I ease rescue dog anxiety?

Both of my dogs are rescues.  I know some of Angel's back story, but very little of Bogie's back story.

So it's hard to know what will trigger their anxiety.  Bogie is accepting of me going to work, a little less enthused when I leave for the gym.  But he was frantic when I returned from a rare late evening out with friends.

Did he think I wasn't returning?  What was it about this absence that made him anxious?

Bogie was found on the street.  Did he escape?  He was a bit of a runner when I got him.  Did his people just walk out on him one day?  Did his beloved owner leave for the hospital and never return?  That could explain his anxiety.  

But I suspect his home life wasn't that idyllic.  What responsible owner gets a Great Dane and doesn't train him as a puppy?  It's much easier to train a Dane at 6 months than at 16 months.   When I got him he didn't know the simplest commands, Sit, Stay, Heel.  Was he a resident in a puppy mill, kept for his breeding capabilities, with no interest in educating him?

Without knowing what causes him stress, I am hit or miss at dealing with it.  He's smart and intuitive. So I explain that I must go to work or there will be no kibble.  That I will be back in a while.  And that seems to reassure him.  Whenever I leave, I make a point of reminding him I will be back.

On the other hand, Angel is pretty blase whenever I go away from home -  as long as she has another canine companion.  She must have other dogs around her to be content.   The one time I took Bogie to the vet without her, Angel was frantic when we returned.

Does she remember when Rags and Peanut didn't come back with me?  Does she fear that will happen again?

Fortunately, the vets we see are used to companion dogs tagging along on visits.  So Angel's anxiety is easily allayed.  I wish Bogie's was as easy to diagnose.

Each dog I've rescued over the years has had its own personality, fears, and traumas.  Unfortunately, they can't share those fears in a way we can understand.

It's my job to figure it out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life with Bogie is never dull

It's hard to believe I have only had Bogie for 10 1/2 weeks.  It has been an adventure.  Until now, I believed the Marmaduke cartoon was an exaggeration, a fiction.  Now I know otherwise.

There have been 10 trips to various vets,  2 escapes from the car at grocery stores, 1 frantic chase through the neighborhood.  He has taken cornbread and dog treat canisters off the counter, and an empty canister from the sink and carefully carried them outside through the doggy door.

I've cleaned muddy footprints off tile, carpet, and couch, and filled in holes dug in the rocks by the storage shed. My patch of grass now has strategically placed pavers covering ankle threatening holes.

He loves wrestling with Angel and is an enthusiastic fetcher, sometimes doing a hip slide across the tile when he tries to stop.  He chases the pigeons away from the bird feeders, which is good.  He also tries to catch the hummingbirds in flight, which would be bad, but he can't catch them. He is sweet and affectionate, loving to lean on people and be petted.

I've learned that at 15-months-old, he was never taught basic commands. He is a quick learner, but can be stubborn.  The most effective discipline for misdeeds is to shun him.  He hates being ignored.

On our walk yesterday, Bogie saw a cat hiding behind a organ pipe cactus and flushed it out. The cat ran across the street with Bogie in hot pursuit, ignoring my pleas to Stop - until he hit the end of the gentle leader. I had braced myself for the jerk on the leash when he hit the end.  But I didn't expect him to do a flip onto his side onto the concrete.  It reminded me of a skateboarder's wipe-out.

I felt horrible.  But he made no sound at all.  He picked himself up, trotted back to my side and sat down next to me to be petted.

It wasn't until 30 minutes after we got home that I realized he had several cactus spines in his shoulder and hip and scrapes on his knees. He very patiently let me remove the spines. When I removed one, blood started dripping onto the tile. I staunched the bleeding with a tissue.  He never once fidgeted or moved.  Well, except to look at the blood on the floor.

Life with Bogie - never dull, full of love.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bogie's got mad skillz

Because Bogie was sick, I was home from work the three days before the Labor Day holiday.  Bogie is a people dog.  He likes to have me around.  So he didn't appreciate it when I had to go into work on Tuesday. He tried to guilt me into staying home. However, when I came home from work, everything was fine.

I petted both dogs - a lot. Then I left for the gym.

I walked in the door from the garage to the house and wondered why there were 4 small rawhide bones in a pile on the floor by the doggy door.  I looked over at the counter and the canister was missing.   Yes, I know we had a previous incident.  But he had been unable to open a similar canister.  So I thought it was safe to leave this one on the counter where is was easier to access.

However, the loose rawhides meant the canister was either broken or opened.

Sure enough, Bogie had taken the canister outside and removed the lid.  It was a flip top lid, not a screw top.  Not only did he remove it, but he removed it in such a way that the lid could be reattached with no problem.  Bogie is smart, too smart.

While Angel and Bogie watched, I found 4 or 5 more rawhides untouched in the grass.  I put those back into the container.  I had recently filled the canister so I figure they ate at least 20 of them.  Thankfully, they were the small Dingo rawhides.

I must say I've never seen Angel look so happy. She was grinning all night, thrilled once again to be the recipient of Bogie's cunning.  Or high on rawhide.

Bogie seemed concerned about my reaction.  Shunning him has been an effective training method when he misbehaves.  So he kept his distance from me until I said, I'm not mad at you. Then he came over to be loved up and petted.

How could I be mad?  I knew he was smart.  I knew he would take things off the counter.  I misjudged his ability to puzzle out solutions.

The canister is now on top of the refrigerator.  If he can get it down from there, he deserves the contents.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I've been engrossed in the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America since yesterday morning.  To the detriment of my chores, the marathon continues today until the new season premiere this evening.  It's fortunate that I agreed to meet a friend at the gym this morning or I would be parked on the couch all day again.

Don't get me wrong.  I got some of my chores done yesterday and will probably do some today.  But Doctor Who was on the television the whole time.  I kept running back to the set to watch particularly favorite scenes.  Unless the entire episode was a favorite.  Then the chores were put on hold.

I'm not sure I qualify as a Whovian.  I can't quote the dialog.  I don't do the cosplay.  But I never miss an episode and I bought several of the books to tide me over until the new season starts.

What is it about Doctor Who that is so appealing?  The adventure, of course.  But also the way the Doctor helps wherever he goes.  Naturally, not everyone is helped.  The evil and misguided are punished or destroyed.  But he helps so many people, even to the point of getting Craig and Sophie together as a couple.

Would I go with him if he asked?  In a heartbeat.  Or would I?   Being able to see new worlds, new times would be amazing.  I like to think that at least part of what the show describes would be real, if we ever make it into space.  The world that is a library. Beings of every shape and size.

But Doctor Who's universe isn't a safe, cozy world.  The life of a companion is dangerous and scary at times. And there is the inevitable time when the companion has to return to the "real" world.  As Rose asked, How do you get a job in a shop when you've seen the end of the universe?  Worse yet, poor Donna, who will never even know she was a Companion.  I think Amy has it best, the adventure and Rory, the love of her life.

Still, I think I would go.  If I could bring my dogs.  I wouldn't abandon my dogs, even for the Doctor.

Surely the Tardis has a grassy park hidden inside?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My poor sick dog

My poor Bogie, who I've had only 2 months as of today, is not feeling well.  He is lethargic and eating very little. Angel, who needed a companion, is not happy that her new playmate is out of service.

Two months.  In that time he has spent more than his fair share of time at the vet.

The day I got him was the day he was neutered, courtesy of the rescue agency.  So that was the first doctor visit.  Three days later to my own veterinary clinic to have him checked over.  We didn't do vaccinations yet because he was still on medication for the neutering.  But they did do a blood test for heart worms and a fecal check for other worms.

Then his scrotum swelled up - a lot.  I'm told this is fairly common in big, older dogs after neutering, but it's scary looking and uncomfortable for the dog.  That required another doctor visit for medication and reassurance.

Two more visits for vaccinations and boosters.  Bogie was found on the street so even though he is now  approximately 17 months old, no one knows the prior status of his shots.

Great Dane horror stories about stomachs that flip over and kill the dog led me to do a preventive gastropexy.  This required 3 visits to a veterinary surgeon.  The pre-check, the surgery, and the post-check.

Sunday we went to the emergency clinic because he vomited and looked like he was going to fall over.  They suggested he be given anti-nausea medication and subcutaneous fluids and watched.  It was either that or a bunch of very expensive tests when maybe he had only eaten something he shouldn't have.

He seemed fine Monday and Tuesday morning.  So fine that I wondered if I had over-reacted in taking him to the emergency clinic. But then he started not eating again.  And he wouldn't play.  And he just wasn't himself.

So today there was yet another trip, this time to his regular vet to see if she could figure out what's wrong.  Blood tests, fecal tests, more subcutaneous fluid.  Nothing obviously wrong.  But obvious to everyone by his behavior that something *is* wrong.

Tomorrow, we go back to the surgeon to see if she can determine what is wrong.  They may have to look inside to see what is going on.

Despite the frequency of these visitations, Bogie has kept his good nature.  At every clinic we have gone to, the employees ooh and aah over him.  Bogie is lovable, well-behaved, very handsome.  At least three different people have said they would take him if I ever need to get rid of him.

He is a sweetheart, and after only 2 months, I cannot bear to lose him.

Get well soon, Bogie.  Get well soon.

Updated - 8/30/12 2 PM
After the visit to the specialist and an ultrasound, it appears that his liver is inflamed.  Educated guess puts the cause as an allergic reaction to the Rimadyl he was prescribed for both the neutering and the gastropexy.

We were sent home with some medication to calm his digestive system.  The liver inflammation will eventually resolve itself.  If it is indeed from an allergy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I love my Dyson

This is not a paid endorsement.  (I wish it was.)  I just thought maybe my opinion would be helpful to people researching vacuums. After all, I based my decision to by a Dyson on conversations with people who did and didn't have Dysons, as well as Internet research.

I'm not a vacuum neophyte.  I've had many brands of vacuum in my adult life - Rainbow, Hoover, Eureka, and the last, a Kenmore.  I liked my Kenmore canister vacuum, but I've had it for 12 years.  Although it seemed to work, I had the sense it was no longer as effective.  I know the suction decreased when the bag started getting half full.  I felt like I was wasting bags by changing them when they weren't full.

I found a good price on a Dyson DC-41 Animal on Amazon, and added some accessories. When it arrived, it was easy to assemble, with clear instructions.  The first time I vacuumed was kind of awkward.  I had a canister vacuum for so long that using an upright required an adjustment.  And the ball was a little tricky to get used to.

However, by the second time I used it, I was a convert.  In the past, after I vacuumed the tile floors I noticed  a bit of grit when I was barefooted.  With the Dyson, there was no grit.  The floors were as smooth as, well, ceramic.

The cleanliness of my carpets is amazing.  After a few times vacuuming with the Dyson, my carpets look almost new, not 14 years old.  Now when I do exercises face down on the carpet, there isn't the musty, dusty smell I used to encounter.

And my micro-suede upholstered furniture has never been so clean.  I vacuumed once with the vibrating attachment.  That did a nice job.  But the next time I used the small hand tool. The suction was so intense that the vacuum hurtled toward the couch.  The dust and dirt extracted was impressive.  My furniture is soft again.

I like seeing all the dirt I am vacuuming up.  Emptying the canister is easy.  Not once have I encountered any blow back on the dust. Maybe it depends on how you empty it.  I dump mine directly into the big trash receptacle, which is rather deep. 

Yes, a Dyson is all plastic.  I imagine that is how they keep it so light.  But there is a 5-year warranty on parts.  Two friends have never had an issue in many years.  Another keeps breaking parts on hers.  So it may depend on how you use your Dyson.

I do agree with one quibble I've read on the internet - a dearth of included attachments.   The Animal comes with a small turbine head that is great on stairs, but most models don't include it.  (The other models are also less expensive.)  What they call the stair tool is the one that did such a killer job on my furniture. The combination tool is awkward and pretty pointless, in my opinion.

I am happy that I bought the duster attachment.  Even with microfiber cloths, I always ended up scattering dust and dog hair.  The duster bristles are incredibly soft and it sucks up the dust and dog hair without any flyaway.

I also bought the dog groomer attachment.  I should have read the description more closely.  The bristles are too harsh for my dogs.  But I sold it to my friend for her Husky and she says it works great.  He likes being brushed with it and she doesn't end up with a pile of dog hair.

Granted, I've only had my Dyson for 2 months, but I am really happy and impressed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Can't I be pretty and serious?

When I was in junior high school I wore short skirts and high heels.  In high school, I gravitated to holey jeans and baggy shirts.

Nowadays, my work wardrobe is jeans, short-sleeved camp shirts, and sneakers.  My home wardrobe swaps out t-shirts for the camp shirts. I'll wear jean shorts instead of long jeans in the summer at home.

My work wardrobe was a conscious decision.  I work in the male-dominated software industry.  I prefer that my co-workers notice my mind, not my attire.  Or my gender.

Many years ago I worked with a well-endowed, female report writer who dressed in flashy, tight clothes.  I don't know if she was good at what she did or not.  No one ever said.  The comments I overhead about her were never focused on her work qualities.

I took note of that.

I've always been a tomboy, so my current wardrobe isn't that much of a departure.  My low key style means I don't spend a lot of money on clothes.  (I spend it on dog treats.).  I'm allergic to nail polish so I keep my nails buffed and natural.  I start to itch from most makeup, so I go without.  I've had bad experiences with hair dressers, so I cut my own.  Easy.  Comfortable.

Still, I hadn't realized how ingrained my philosophy had become until recently.

I've belonged to a gym for 18 months.  Unsure what clothes to buy, and unwilling to spend a fortune on workout clothes, I've worn cotton street shorts to the gym.  There is still a little (a lot) of the insecure 12-year-old inside me, so when someone joked about my shorts, I felt compelled to buy real workout shorts.

I ordered a pair of Adidas shorts from Amazon.  I was not aware that the "diva" stripe meant pink.  The first day I wore them, I mated them with a black t-shirt, a pink sweat band, and my black and white Nikes.

I got to the gym, and during Body Combat class, I saw myself in the full length mirror.  I looked pretty.  I looked like one of those women who dress up to go to the gym so she can sit around and look at guys.

I was appalled.

I don't want to look pretty.  I want to look like I'm serious about my exercise.  I want to look tough.

Sigh.  When did I become the kind of person who objects to looking pretty?  Can't I be pretty and serious?

Apparently, not in my mind.