Friday, November 30, 2007


My rant, just below, raised my blog readability level back to junior high! I am once again so proud!

(And relieved not to be at the elementary school level any more...)

Last Day of November.

Woot! I have an entry for every day in November! I wrote every day! Amazing. (Alright, I used the post options to change the date once, but that was because I was trying to do to much with too many windows open and accidentally deleted one day's post, and had to recreate it.)

I have noticed I have lost my ranty goodness somewhere along the line...I think I got too concerned about trying to not offend people. (Which kinda makes sense, because I occasionally offend people without even trying.) So I am going to try to get my rant on, let my crank flag fly.

And if you are offended, well, you can rest easy assured that at some point you have offended me or somebody just like me.

And so let's start with the republicans. What the hell is wrong with those guys? Those ijiots running for president...Did they not notice that any comment in the YouTube debate that suggested getting out of Iraq was met with much applause...which means even the republican audience thinks that show should close.

Perhaps you should talk to some real life actual soldiers before you decide they are all conservative fundie idiots who are scared of gays and lesbians. (I can't remember who said that, I was too busy gathering all the bits of my head from around the room. It exploded from sheer dumbfoundedness...duh.) I guess what he really meant was that those are the patriotic ones, are the real soldiers, and any soldier that doesn't fall in line with that thinking isn't a good American.

I guess that makes me a really horrible American then, because I think being an American means you are supposed to be able to do what you want, without regard to other people's belief systems. If you want to have an abortion or sleep with people that are the same sex as you, or buy used books off the internet, talk on the phone or send emails without them being listened to or read by a government agency, fly on a plane without those bogus searches that do nothing real to make us safe, eat junk food, smoke (tobacco or marijuana) in the comfort of our own home.

I do not believe that anything I do -- from eating junk food to getting an abortion to using various drugs recreationally to reading authors considered subversive -- can impact your life in any way at all. And what you do in your life does not impact mine.

/end rant.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


It's raining today. It started raining early this morning, and we had light rain off and on all day. The dogs' pool (one of those 4 foot wading pools I use to give them baths) has some rain water in it -- maybe a quarter inch or a little less -- so we really did get some rain.

Which is most excellent, because I live in the desert, and more importantly -- it slightly flooded the backyard, so the dog urine is diluted and possibly washed away!!! I have been trying to flood the backyard a little with the irrigation occasionally to try to wash away some of that stuff, but apparently I do not have Mark's knack for completely flooding everything, even when I leave the irrigation on for hours.

The forecast is for more rain through Sunday, 70% chance of rain tomorrow. So all that nasty dust and pollen will be knocked down for a little while, and yards all over Tucson will be washed clean of dog pee.

Then we will have weeks or months of no rain, and the dust and pollen and dog pee will take over again.

Ooops! Somehow yesterday I did not post this, but saved it instead. Still, it's dated yesterday, so I still have a post for every day in November...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My anti-girly girl, has tried out for her class's play.

I was amazed. She is not fond of the spotlight. She is not big on being the center of attention. She would not jump on the trampoline in toddler gym class, because she didn't want everyone looking at her.

Then she told me the part she auditioned for.

A robber. Who gets to be in a stage fight.

Mystery solved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

my top ten answers as a Mom

  1. Because.
  2. I don't care. Ask your dad.
  3. I am the mom. That's all you need to know.
  4. You will know when we get there.
  5. We have teh internets and google. Figure it out.
  6. You are grounded until six months after you die.
  7. It's only funny until someone loses an eye.
  8. What am I, your slave?
  9. No, you weren't adopted. But you still could be.
  10. Don't glue your sister to anything, and do not glue anything to your sister.

Zach is feeling better.

He is breathing more easily, his fever seems to be down, he is getting back to his normal self. He even wants to go to school tomorrow...

I believe, though, his new girlfriend may have something to do with his desire to get back to school -- Mark, I can't believe I forgot to tell you Zach has a girlfriend now. I will fill you in on the details privately...

I guess the doctor was really right when he said that pneumonias that come quickly tend to react quickly to antibiotics. Thank God.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I am knocking wood

crossing my fingers. and toes. not walking under ladders. tossing salt over my shoulder. Praying to the fickle gods of stress and cruelty to just leave me alone. Pick on somebody else. Please.

Mark -- goes to Kuwait for a couple months. I never realize how much I talk to my husband until he is not available by phone. I think I must call him at least once at a day when he's at work, and when the guys in the lab only have to stick me once to draw blood, he's the one I call to share the good news with...(I was always an easy blood draw until I started to need bi-monthly draws. Suddenly nobody can get a blood sample without three or four sticks...)

Abe -- must have surgery because of his bum knee. He was my one remaining shot at a pet that isn't a special needs pet. The one chance to not spend insanely ridiculous amounts of money on a dog. (Or a guinea pig, which is worse, really. Guinea pigs are only happy to acknowledge you when you rattle a lettuce bag or open the refrigerator.)

Mojo -- not responding to his treatment for valley fever. New meds for Mo.

Dad -- comes to visit and gets exhausted, we think, and has a health scare.

Now...Zach has pneumonia. Pneumonia. Why? I don't know. Where did he get it? Got me. I actually called the paramedics at 1 am because he was said he couldn't breathe. He was in quite a lot of pain. Then I spent all day today getting him to urgent care and getting his chest x-rayed and getting his antibiotics and cough med with codeine. (which is interesting...he mumbles about quadrants and inappropriate -- I couldn't catch anything but those words, and then later he asked me "who and where am I?" Zach stoned. Tomorrow he will hate that feeling, control freak that he is. Tonight he just wants to not cough and to sleep.)

Enough already. I don't need any other injuries, or sicknesses, or complications. I just want to sew with my mom. Make some pajama pants and boxer shorts for the kids. Make a couple of flannel quilts. Finish Mom's pajama bottoms.

Instead I will probably be calling the fire department because the Suburban is on fire. Or one of the stupid palm trees in my yard will fall on me.

I feel like I have an invisible target on the top of my head, and those fickle gods of fate are using me for target practice.

Oh well. At least life is not boring...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Julie, your true color is Green!

You're green, the color of growth and vigor. Good-hearted and giving, you have a knack for finding and bringing out the best in people. Green is the most down-to-earth color in the spectrum — reliable and trustworthy. People know they can count on you to be around in times of need, since your concern for people is genuine and sincere. You take pride in being a good friend. For you, success is measured in terms of personal achievement and growth, not by status or position. Rare as emeralds, greens are wonderful, natural people. It truly is your color!

Here's the test.

Better than Puce, I guess.

Your Sunflower Moment for Today.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human.

Okay. Last time my sunflower moment was laughing at the stars on Dancing with the Stars. Probably not the most sunflowery of moments. First try and all that...

Something good about the world and your fellow human...The world? Easy. Something good about the world is that is not in fact encased in lava.

Fellow human. Fellow human...people. People. People who need people are the luckiest ...Sorry. It's a weird family thing. Words trigger song lyrics...

People. Something good about people. How about...they don't all have horrible body odor? ...still not so great...hmmm...Something good about people. Being serious for a moment -- every year at this time people start organizing toy drives, and rounding up food and clothes and toys and necessities for people who are struggling. They give up their time and money to feed and clothe and care about complete strangers.

That is something really good about my fellow human. And a reminder that I want to bring some food to our church's food pantry.

The dog is NOT broken.

He limps in the evenings, I think his leg gets tired and sore, but he seems to be doing okay most of the time. He doesn't seem to be in pain, and is much back to normal.

My Weekly Winners

I didn't have much time to take photos this week. Family emergency and Thanksgiving and Mom and Dad visiting cut into my free time...

But I did get this photo of Mojo and Abe being rather disgusting.

And this one of the dogs in the cage looking at me rather reproachfully. They just don't get why I have to throw them in the cage as soon as they start having fun.

This is the tree in my front yard...

These purple color prickly pear are one of my favorite desert plants.

That's the color those prickly pear are naturally. We have lots of the green ones around, as well, but they aren't as pretty as the purple.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The kids...

love stuffing. On Thanksgiving, I filled this casserole

with stuffing. Completely full. A lot of stuffing.

After dinner, I shoved the leftover stuffing to the side, and put the leftover mashed potatoes in it...about 1/3 of it was stuffing. Tonight, there is nothing but potato left. In fact, there is a little undercut in the potatoes where they dug the last of the stuffing out from under...

There are maybe four bits of celery in there, because they are not crazy about celery. But that is all that is left to show there was any stuffing in there at all.

They had stuffing for breakfast and lunch and dinner. They ate stuffing at every possible moment, until it was gone. Fortunately I remembered to tell them not to eat the mashed potatoes, because tomorrow we are having shepherd's pie with the leftover mashed potatoes on top.

I guess I should make stuffing more often...but it's not really something that is yummy when it is 107 degrees outside. It's just not a terrific hot weather food...

Friday, November 23, 2007


I think my dog might be broken. Yesterday the dogs were in the backyard unattended -- apparently they followed Thor out when he was taking the recycling out -- and I suddenly saw them tearing around the yard. Abe was pretty limp-y last night. He didn't seem like he was in pain, but then this is a dog who tore around and wrestled with Mojo when his kneecap was around to the side of his leg. (Yuck.) Today he isn't limping as much, but I am still worried he has damaged it. The Valium makes him sleep a lot (not that much different from before, really -- he's a dog. They sleep most of the day any way.) Now he's just groggy at times, and still wants to wrestle and play and rip Mo's hind leg off.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The turkey is in the oven, the cranberry-orange relish is tarting up the fridge, and I have everything I need for stuffing.

Family are here and on their way.

What more could anyone need?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

What I like about Tucson...

Going to the Tucson Sidewinders games. They are a farm team for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I love minor league ball. It's baseball the way baseball should be. There are no giant egos on that field, just guys who love playing the game. (I am sure there are in fact extra large egos, but just let me have my illusions. I have so few these days...). You get to watch crazy races between innings. A beer and a hot dog still runs you close to ten bucks, but you can go on dollar dog nights, and then it's only five bucks.

It's up close and personal. The mascot sucks, but even that can be night we watched him flirt endlessly with a drunk college girl in the front row.

And sometimes, you get to watch the ball game under a pretty good sunset, while drinking a cold beer and yelling at the ump.

What more can you ask for on a hot summer night?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I had to clip the guinea pigs toenails tonight.

I hate doing that, but not as much as I would hate paying someone to do it for me.

edited to add...can you tell I had no time and no ideas for blogging tonight?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Horrifying. Just horrifying.

Kohl's department store is going to open at 4 am on Friday, for the day after Thanksgiving sales.

Four AM.


I do not get this at all. Why would anyone waste prime sleep in time to get up to go to a department store, to buy crap for Christmas presents that people are just going to exchange anyway?

I spent hours at Barnes and Noble waiting until midnight to buy the last Harry Potter book, with the kids. I went to EBGames at midnight to stand in line for 45 minutes to buy HALO3 with Thor. Mark left work to go to Burger King to get the boys a Buzz Lightyear puppet. We can do the insane shopping thing.

But not that insane. Going to a department store at 4 am is insane. There is nothing in Kohl's that could induce me into wasting a rare sleep-in morning for some dumb sale at a department store. Not even if it was Nordstrom's.

(Okay, if Dayton's department store came back, and I could go to the store in downtown Minneapolis, possibly I would get up at 4 am. But nothing less than that could induce me to go shopping on Friday. Nothing.)

Chicken diaster.

Yesterday we pulled a whole chicken out of the freezer for supper last night, but we were going to Target, so we put it in the oven to keep it away from Mojo. (After the bread incident, we were taking no chances.)

So the chicken did not defrost completely. We used the microwave to thaw it some more, then I put butter and Greek Garlic seasoning on it, and threw it in the oven. Pretty soon the house was filling with the scent of garlicky goodness.

The first problem came when the chicken seemed to be done, but then we noticed the juices running from the center were still rather bloody...After some exploration, we pulled the heart and gizzard and stuff from inside it. Apparently it was frozen to the side of the cavity and we missed it when we were prepping the chicken.

So the chicken was not done. We tossed it back in the oven, and threw some Pillsbury rolls in too. We got a salad, peas, and broccoli ready to go, plus couscous.

Sounds like it's turning out to be a decent meal, right? Ha.

The rolls were supposed to be in at 400, but the chicken was at 325. The skin of the chicken looked crispy delicious, but cutting into it, I hit undercooked portions. And while trying to disassemble the chicken, I realized all the good knives are in Alaska in Mark's apartment.

I am buying myself a good new knife this week. Before I make Thanksgiving dinner for eight.

Because cutting poultry with an dullish knife is no fun at all.

So I tossed the chicken carcass onto the platter and put the whole thing in the microwave for ten minutes. That seemed to do the trick -- we were no longer serving raw though garlicky good chicken. I still was not having any fun cutting up the chicken. I am getting a new knife tomorrow.

In the meantime, Mom got the rolls out of the oven. They stuck to the bottom of the pan. They never ever ever stick for me. Stupid rolls. Stupid pan.

Finally we got everything and everyone to the table. Whew. Things are looking up, right? Again with the HA.

Zach missed the plate when he was dishing himself up some couscous. Thor dumped way too much ranch dressing on his broccoli. Then he knocked the spoon from the couscous on the floor.

We had banana splits for dessert. The first banana Mom cut open looked a little bloody. Really weird -- like there was blood in it. We didn't eat that banana.

I was cutting another banana for my split, and cut my thumb, just a little bit, but it hurt. I think I got banana in the cut. I was concerned I would soon start turning yellow and having a thick peel-like skin.

Mom was putting caramel on her split, and because it was a brand new just-opened bottle, it was a lot runnier than she was expecting, and she ended up with more than she wanted. Drowned ice cream in caramel.

By the time the meal was over, neither of us had any desire at all to deal with the chicken carcass, so we threw it in a stock pot and put in the in garage refrigerator. But that means we have to deal with it today.

Sigh. Yuck.

Mojo ate the bread...

I was ridiculously irrationally mad at Mojo for eating the loaf of stale bread Abe had been carrying around (the previous posts for today explain why Abe had his loaf).

I thumped Mojo on the head, not hard. It's great. I can be all annoyed at Mojo, give him a thump on the head, and he interprets it as a pat. Because his skull is thick and rock-hard. And because I thump him on the side all the time.

So I can give Moj a thump on the head, and feel better, let loose the dogs of frustration, and not harm my dog's psyche.

Abe had his first Valium tonight. I came around the corner and Mojo was standing there with Abe's recently operated-on knee in his mouth. I hate this, because I love watching them play. It's like a steel cage match. It's the clash of the titans. It's like All Star Wrestling (this really cheesy wrestling in the 70's -- the grandfather of the professional wrestling of today. Vern Gonya. Completely fake and proud of it.)

The Valium seems to be working, but it's 11 pm so Abe would be sleeping anyway. We are trying to "help" the dogs play in a way that won't thrash Abe's knee. Not the easiest thing...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Weekly Winners!

I didn't know dogs could take bad photos...Abe looks like he is blinking or about to sneeze or something. For an explanation as to why he has a loaf of bread in his mouth, check out the other posting for today.

We spent a couple hours working on Zach's Eagle Scout project. The map is coming along pretty good. Fortunately it's a low bar -- the people who painted the map before us put Hawaii upside down. As long as we the States more or less in the right places and shapes and sizes, we are good.

Zach finishing Illinois.

My dia de los muertos shoes...and a sunset-y sky. My sons and their friends thought I was rather strange laying on my back on cement with my feet up in the air taking pictures. I can see their point.

The sky just before sunset.

The pilots at Davis Monthan Air Base have been very busy lately -- it seems like there are more than the usual number of fighter jets out and about lately.

The thing you cannot see in this picture is the heavy rubber mallet in Thor's hands. Michael has no idea how close he was to a concussion. Thor is not to be trusted with hammers.

Abe and the stale loaf of bread.

We locked Abe in the cage today when we went to church. As usual, the bedroom doors were closed, so Mojo could be in the kitchen, family room and living room. And as usual, the kids forgot to take the garbage out.

But unlike the way it usually happens, Mojo found a very hard, very stale loaf of bread the kids had thrown away, and stopped digging in the garbage bag. (Usually there are coffee grounds and wrappers and meat wrappings and stuff all over the place.)

So when we walked in, we saw the loaf of bread on the floor and thought Mojo had gotten the bread that my friend Vickie had given us the day before -- a wonderful homemade honey wheat bread...

So we were very happy when we saw the garbage bag on the kitchen floor, and Vickie's bread intact on the counter.

We let Abe out of the cage. For the last four hours, he has had that loaf of bread right next to him. Everywhere Abe goes, he has that chunk of bread in his mouth.

he has just wandered into my bedroom and is growling at Mojo through the loaf of bread. Weird dog.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have 37 seconds to post...

because my family is going to want food tonight. My Mom and Dad arrived last night! Yay! Today we went and bought a turkey - 16 pounds -- for eight of us -- Mom and Dad, me and three kids, and MIL and FIL. Will be lots of fun, and lots of food. And Mark, who will do the turkey carcass since you are not here? I don't want to do it...

Here is your moment of Dog Zen for today...How can a dog that looks so dignified and noble, regal and majestic in profile be such a complete goof and dork in real life?

Friday, November 16, 2007

I am the meanest person ever.

Abe and Mojo wanted to play, and were starting to wrestle around a little bit. I immediately dropped the laundry I was folding, rushed over to them, and hurled Abe into his cage.

The top item on my to-do list is to get Abe's Valium prescription filled. This is making me so sad. He is such a sweet dog, and so happy and full of energy.

And I am the mean ogre who is going to drug him into insensibility and lock him in the cage any time he moves. This is going to be a very very very long two months...and I am worried about how Abe will be affected by this.

When he can finally run free again, will he be scared to? Will being leashed and caged for two months -- even though it is for his own good -- change him? Will he lose that happy hyper attitude?

It's affecting Mojo as well -- he didn't eat all his breakfast this morning. That never happens. Never. Mojo is food-obsessed.

It would be so much easier if Mark was not in the Persian Gulf region (hi, honey!). He could wrestle with Mojo while I walk Abe...right now, Mojo is not getting the exercise he needs, so I am going to have to start walking the dogs. But separately, at least at first, since I like my shoulders in their sockets. I am crazy that way, I know.

And perhaps the kidlets can walk Abe while I play with Mojo. Now if I can just figure out how to encourage the dogs to do that play thing where they are both laying on the floor biting each other's heads, instead of the usual clash of the titans fighting they do...

I will need Valium before this is all over....I guess I will just have to settle for Tequila and beer.

Although I keep forgetting to buy the good stuff...all we have in the fridge right now is Miller Lite. That is not beer. That is a bubbly water and alcohol poseur. Tecate, Fat Tire, Dos X's, Belgian, Mexican, microbrews. That's beer. American mass market beers are not worthy.

My sunflower moment for today...

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human.

I don't think so. I just joined a cranky bloggers group. I can be pathologically glass is half full, but I tend cynical toward my fellow man.

But since I am now a sunflower, I will find something good about my fellow human every day...

So today's sunflower moment:

liquid soap. some fellow human created liquid soap...except there's liquid soap in public bathrooms, and people don't wash their hands after using the toilet. so liquid soap not a good thing about fellow human (why isn't it humans? it says fellow human on the garden quiz website. That kinda bugs me...I really don't think I am a sunflower at all).

so no to liquid soap. liquid soap is not something good about my fellow human. and wash your hands. gross.

Dancing with the Stars. it's so fun, and so cheesy, and my Mom loves it. where else can you see great dancers and pathetic dancers and Tucker Carlson fall flat on his face (although not literally, unfortunately)?

Dancing with the sunflower moment for today.

I guess nasturtium and sunflower are not so bad...

When I clicked on the link on the sunflower post, this is the page that opens. I wanted the sunflower link and code, so now I am going to have to take the quiz again...

This is What Kind Of Flower You Are

You Are a Canada Thistle

"You are a mean spirited, ornery cuss. People try to get rid of you and you just keep coming back."
blog it

I am now allergic to Arizona.

I had a two year run with almost no allergies. It was wonderful. It was fantastic. It is over.

I have now become allergic to stuff here. The last three or four days I have had a nagging nasty headache all day, mostly around my right eye. It feels dry, and like it is being pushed out of my skull by the sinus pressure. Probably lucky thing I wear glasses, so when it finally pops out it won't go rolling across the floor. That went a little dark there. Huh.

It's very dusty and dry here. It hasn't rained since the monsoons, and it's been really windy. So I think that doesn't help either. I need to get the swamp cooler running again.

Swamp coolers are humidifiers that dump water in the air. They are used to cool off the air and add moisture. We originally got one because we have lots of antique furniture from when we lived in the Netherlands, and the dry climate here in Tucson is so hard on it. The wood is shrinking and we feared that it would eventually just fall apart.

So maybe between the humidifier and taking a shower with a ShowerSoother tab I will start to feel better. Shower Soothers -- I love those things. I have a shower stall in my bathroom rather than a tub shower, so the menthol and eucalyptus vapors and the steam fill up the stall and while I don't think it really does a lot of decongesting, I just feel better smelling it. (Which is weird, because usually smells bug me, since I am allergic to perfume).

This is sort of rambly and pointless today...I guess the headache makes it hard to concentrate.

The downside of having the Shower soother in a shower stall is that those things get hot when they get wet -- and occasionally I stand too close to it and my feet get a little warm.

Or maybe -- oh my gosh -- this is the start of my Hanta Virus infection...

Never mind that the headache started before I saw the mouse...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Abe is Getting Reacquainted with his Left Hind Leg.

Abe has the giant bandage off, and spent a big part of the truck ride home saying hello to his left hind leg and paw. Checking them out. Making sure they are the same as the last time he saw them...

Except for the shaved part, and the five inch long scar, that is.

Mojo is going to get a flea killer drug that will hopefully will help suppress his Valley Fever. It works on fleas by destroying the chitin -- the stuff that flea exoskeletons are made of.

The Valley Fever thingies in Mo's blood also have a lot of chitin, so hopefully (fingers crossed) the Program medicine will help suppress that Valley Fever.

Here's how describes what this additional drug does:

A general rule with any fungal infection is that it takes a long time to clear. Valley Fever is no different and a year of medication administration is fairly common. Treatment continues until the clinical signs have resolved, the radiographs look normal, and the antibody level has stabilized (note antibody levels may never fully drop to zero). Ketoconazole, itraconazole , and fluconazole are the usual drugs to treat this condition. Monitoring liver enzymes is important with all of these, particularly since long treatment courses are common.

Lufenuron, the active ingredient in the flea control product Program, was developed to inhibit the development of chitin (the crunchy exterior material of the insect body). The idea was that a flea larva who had fed upon blood pellets (flea dirt) from a pet treated with oral lufenuron would be unable to properly pupate into an adult flea. It turns out that the shell of Coccidioides immitis is also rich in chitin and that lufenuron at specific doses may be helpful in clearing this infection. This is still an experimental use but it may be worthwhile to ask your veterinarian about this product.

Mojo was taking ketoconazole and was switched to fluconazole when it didn't seem to be working...but the fluconazole doesn't seem to be doing the job either. Hopefully adding this other drug will finally do the job, and Mojo will no longer have an active case of Valley Fever.

I like this one better...

I took the test again. Now I am a sunflower. A sunflower who "finds something good about the world and your fellow human..."

They don't all live on my street.

This is What Kind Of Flower You Are

You Are a Sunflower

"When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human."
blog it

Another online quiz...

I am a Nasturium.

This is What Kind Of Flower You Are

 You Are a Nasturtium

"You are more than what you seem. Outwardly, you are a confident person with just a little bit of a temper. Inwardly, you are someone who needs some serious TLC and attention."
 blog it

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hysterical Hanta Virus Infection...

Today for the first time since his surgery I had to leave Abe alone for a couple hours.

At first I was thinking I could leave him in my bedroom with the door closed, but then he would want to get on the bed with Mojo, and that would be bad. He is not allowed to jump off furniture -- it could mess up his newly repaired knee.

So I decided to get the dog cage out. (I was working under a deadline, my ride was on her way). I opened the first Rubbermaid shed outside. No cage. Checked the second. Still no cage. Whipped around the corner and down the side of the house to the third shed. Cool! The cage is here, and right in front! Things are working out. I can do this...

Except bleh. Mouse poopage in the shed. Right there. Dang. And then, even worse, mouse poopage creator in the shed. A big fat healthy-looking mouse runs out. Stares at me for a second, then runs down into the back corner of the shed.

(Just telling this is making my eyes itchy and my skin feel crawly. I am going to have to shower when I finish writing this...)

But I don't have time to scream and get all girly. My ride is almost here and I still have to put the cage together. So I drag half the cage around the back of the house and through the house to the front of the house. I don't know why I didn't just go out the gate that was right there -- could have saved me from dragging the cage all that way. I guess between the mouse and the time crunch I wasn't doing alot of thinking and planning.

I go back to get the other half of the cage parts. The fat little pest runs out and under the box next to the shed. Yuck again. Mice are not cute.

As I am dragging the second half of the cage down the side of the house, halfway across the backyard, and then through the family room into the living room, I think, "mouse germs. That nasty little bastard could have used the cage for a ladder and now there are mouse germs."

So I drag the cage (man am I getting sick of this cage) out the front door and lean it against the palm trees. Two trips because this is a huge unwieldy cage in six parts.

Suddenly I think, "Hanta virus. Mice in the desert Southwest carry the Hanta virus." So great. Now not only will I have a dog with Valley Fever, I will kill the other one -- the one I just spent a pile of money on to fix his knee -- with a Hanta virus-laden cage.

So I go into the bathroom to get the Lysol. While in the bathroom, I accidentally glance in the mirror and realize I have not yet combed my hair. I reach back to do something with the back of it, and now. Wham. Hanta virus on my head. Crap.

I think, "I do not have time to take another shower. Just don't touch anything else." So I spray Lysol on the dog cage, drag it back inside, get the new cushy soft fleecy dog blanket, and set the cage up. Then I wash my hands, go in the bathroom and use hairspray on my head -- now I have the Hanta virus lacquered to my scalp. Yay.

I am brushing my teeth when my ride shows up. I stuff Abe in the cage, toss Abe and Mo each a couple of treats, and then ask my friend if there is the Hanta virus in southern Arizona. Yup.

So now I have a hysterical case of the Hanta virus. Thanks to the internet, I know this means I should be getting a headache, joint pain, stomach pain, lower back pain, coughing, nausea and vomiting, and then possibly die.

On the good side, it doesn't seem to effect dogs. So I didn't waste my money on Abe's knee.

Yeah, yeah...I know that the common house mouse doesn't carry the Hanta virus -- it looked like a plain old mouse to me, but I didn't ask to see his ID...And it is an incredibly rare disease. But having an hysterical case of it is much more interesting than "hey. I saw a mouse today."


You should think about reading the rest of this guy's comment.

As for me, I am very tired of the military being endlessly debated and argued and used as a political bludgeon by people of every political stripe.
clipped from
Is America at War?
Graffiti from Marine Civil Affairs office in Ramadi: America is not at war. The Marines Corps is at war; America is at the mall.

This picture from today’s Kansas City Star echoes – in Marine fashion – a sentiment that I often hear from Soldiers: America isn’t at war; the Army is.

Politicians and pundits don’t always understand what Soldiers mean by that. It isn’t about a draft or who is serving in uniform or taxes or material sacrifices at home. It isn’t even about differing opinions about the way ahead. What most Soldiers mean is that the people seem to have lost heart.

Soldiers live by the warrior ethos:

  • I will always place the mission first.

  • I will never accept defeat.

  • I will never quit.

  • I will never leave a fallen comrade behind.

These are the values they live by. Time and time again, they throw themselves into the breach to accomplish what needs to be done. Soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors are enduring extreme hardship and danger to accomplish the mission they’ve been given in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 blog it

I tried to take photos of the dogs yesterday.

As soon as I sat down on the floor -- trying to take pictures from their level...they both came and laid down facing away from me.

I did get a good photo of Mojo...I took him to the vet last week for a Valley Fever blood test. Dr. Laudonio called me yesterday, and turns out Mojo's titers have not changed. Which is a bugger, because we had already upped the does of Fluconazole (yeah, I have no idea if that is even close to right, but the bottle of pills is way far away in the kitchen...). And before that he was taking a different medicine that didn't really work either.

So now I am reduced to changing pharmacies, to see if a different maker of the same drug will budge the Valley Fever...

Dr. L mentioned how huge Mojo's head is. It is enormous. Must be that Mastiff blood he has...I forget I have extra large dogs. They seem normal sized to me...

But Mojo is doing great. At least the drug is repressing the Valley Fever. He has energy, he is happy, he obviously loves to eat. His hip is doing great as well -- even though he has that funky shallow hip socket, and the ball of his femur doesn't ride properly in the socket, taking glucosamine and chondrotine seems to be doing the job. He doesn't limp, he runs and jumps and, when he and Abe are wrestling and playing, lays on his back and launches Abe with his hind legs.

Abe and Mo are not playing and wrestling right now. It's so weird...Abe is so quiet. I think his leg must still be hurting, but he is starting to get more energy. I will probably be getting that Valium prescription for Abe filled pretty soon.

He's done with the morphine-type pain killer, and is now only on the puppy Tylenol. And chondrotine/glucosamine forever, because it can help his knee joint. He will have problems with arthritis and joint pain. I hope the cold weather in Alaska isn't too hard on his knee. Guess we will find out.

This is the last day for Abe's bandage. Tomorrow he goes to the vet and has the bandage and sutures removed. He's gonna look goofy -- I don't know how much of his leg fur is buzz-cut, but the buzz-cut starts at the top of his thigh...combine that with the shaved area around his knee, and he will be bad-haircut boy for a while.

Hey! Since Haley moved to SanDiego -- Haley has cut my hair since I moved to Tucson -- I am also being bad-haircut person. Abe and I are like haircut twins.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Somewhere, possibly Juneau, Alaska.

Or it could be Ketchikan.

This is a photo I took when we were on the Alaska cruise. I like it because it was September, and it was misty and foggy like this a lot. It reminds me of that trip, and standing on the deck of the cruise ship with Mark, breathing in all that fresh air. Fresh air that does not feel like breathing in sandpaper.

The air in Tucson feels like breathing in sandpaper -- it's very dry and very hot, even into October, when the high finally drops down to 90 at the beginning of the month. This year was so hot even into November...I think we had a day or two with a high of nearly 90 in November. That is just wrong.

A very bad mom moment indeed.

Today I got to laugh at myself...My son and his friend were going out the door, and because our dog just had knee surgery, he must be walked. It freaks him out to be walked in his own backyard, and seemed to be on a pee boycott today.

So as my son and his friend are out the door, I say "Zach, did you take Tess out to pee?"

Both of them look at me, look at each other, look at me again. I say "Well? Did you?"

Z says to me " No, Mom, I did not take Tess out to pee."

I suddenly realized I had done that mom thing -- calling a child or a dog by the wrong name -- at a spectacularly bad moment.

The dog's name is Abe. My daughter's name is Tess. Oops.

A conversation.

Zach: Movie quote.

Me: Ha ha. Another movie quote.

Z: tired cliche.

M: catch phrase of the month.

Z: TV quote.

M: Adverb.

Z: Exclamation.

M: Worn out metaphor.

...and so on, until...

Z: Indeed.

Ha. I outlasted Zach! Zach used a word instead of a description of the word before I did. I am the current world champion.

Stop it, Abe.

Just stop licking your butt. I know you just had a huge trauma, are in pain and confused about wearing a leash 24/7, are leashed to the bench in the living room for hours. You are a sad dog these days.

But stop licking your bottom. And the top of your leg, the part that's shaved and where the bandage slipped.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A New Insult.

This afternoon, Zach, his friend Michael and I were working on the map.

(We had to jump the chain link fence to get into the playground. It's been years since I have gone over a chain link fence -- just not something I have the need to do, usually. Michael forgot his cell phone in the Suburban, so he went back over to get it. His pants got caught when he was straddling the fence. Zach and I found this humorous...)

While we were painting, six or seven middle school age kids rode by on their bikes. One of them apparently felt the need to be a tough guy, because after a few stutters, he yelled "Hippie shit! Hippie shit!" Zach and Michael and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. Hippie shit. I just snorted a little thinking about it.

(So instead of waiting until I was safely back on the other side of the fence, I said to Michael, "you were very graceful getting back over the fence before." Ha ha. So Zach climbed over the fence, and Michael got back over the fence, and then I got stuck straddling the fence. Right where Michael had gotten pants snagged on a bit of wire sticking up. Karma's a bitch, you know?)

Random Photos from my past.

I was on a plane. Going somewhere. I took pictures. Or husband was on a plane. Going somewhere. He took pictures.

Saguaro National Park East, Tucson, Arizona. This is what Saguaros look like when they die and all the outsides dry up and fall off. I love the black and white setting on my camera.

South Fork of the Crow River, Hutchinson, Minnesota. Right in the middle of town. I took this photo from the Main Street bridge. Doesn't look like it's 500 yards from a Shopko parking lot, and yet it is.

Hmmm...That National Park...Bryce Canyon, that's the one. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Spring Break 2005. Or 6. This place is gorgeous and amazing, and I swear the worst photographer in the world could take great photos here. This also illustrates one of the things I love most about the Southwest -- those gigantic endless skies. It was a little overwhelming coming from the Netherlands, but once I got used to the wide open, I grew to love it.

Seattle, Washington, from Puget Sound. This is one of my favorite places in the world. (Not as good as London, but still pretty terrific.) More accurately, the Pacific Northwest as a whole is one of my favorite places. Some of the best times of our family life have been on the Washington beaches of the Pacific Ocean.

Stolen from another blog

where it had also been stolen from another blog via blogger play...

The blog writer noticed the baby and the dog in the background have the same expression...Thank you Michelle from rediculousnamesbugme!

Actually I read something about dogs recently -- something about how they are a very infantilized animal -- they look very much like babies -- big heads and eyes and stuff. Crap. Now I have to try to figure out where in the world I read this...

Being the Mother of an Almost Eagle Scout...

Is really lots of work.

We spent another six or seven hours today on the map, including cleaning all the damn brushes. My favoritest thing to do ever.

The map is shaping up nicely. With the bright colors and the black outlines, it looks like a cartoon version of the United States. The childrens of that elementary school will be very happy with it, I think.

The bottom photo is a big pile of paint stripper scraped off the map. Why Zeke insists on taking photos of rather disgusting things is beyond me...We still have the photos of stuff Abe threw up. It was very colorful, since he was still a puppy and eating lots of vinyl toy bits, but do we really need photographic evidence of his slightly less than genius status?

Twenty four states are painted, and most of the outlines for those states. Pretty much west of the Mississippi is done!

Tomorrow Zeke and Brendon are going to spend an hour or so doing touchups. Then we figure another five or so hours of painting, another day of touchups, and the Eagle project will have landed! Hallelujah.

The best part? Whomever painted it in the first place painted Hawaii upside down, so we figure all we have to do is have fifty states sorta the right shape and comparative size, and we are golden. At least all our states are right side up.

This Eagle project has been very frustrating at times, and confusing, and hot. Today was not bad at all, probably in the 70's getting to the low 80's, with a slight breeze. Squinty sunny, though, trying to paint with high gloss polyurethane in the bright sunshine...