Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Didn't Like Last Night's Activity

So, for the most part, I don't mind this Christmas business. Aside
from Mom abandoning me at the vet's office to go visit her humans - my
grandparents, uncle, aunt, and cousin, it wasn't too bad. I got extra
attention when she came back, and my cousin, Lucy the chocolate lab
sent me some bones; one to lick and leave on the floor, the others to

However, the gift-receiving thing is not all it's cracked-up to be.
Mom got a fur cutting thingy from my grandparents. I have one word
for you, Mom...


Hearing things like "oops" and "hmmm, well, it'll grow back" is not reassuring!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thanks For The Modification

So, I've always found myself a bit weepier than usual (if that's
possible) around the holidays. I suppose a lot of it is just feeling
sentimental with the year wrapping up, thinking about being with my
family and the slight, whisper in the way back of my mind that someday
they won't all be with me for the holidays.

I was in Walgreens a few weeks ago and I had to giggle to myself when
I started tearing-up at the sound of "Have Yourself a Merry Little
Christmas" coming through the scratchy speakers above me.
Cyd, Thanksgiving JUST passed!

But, I was flipping through my Entertainment Weekly, and came across
the history of that particular song. It was written for "Meet Me In
St. Louis", but its original lyrics were SO depressing, they changed

Check it out...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Wow, now there's an upper.

I'm grateful it was modified, even though it STILL makes me weepy -
even when Rolf the Muppet and John Denver sing it!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Barky, then Grumpy, Then Needy Day

I have zero patience for my dog today. He is not one of my favorite
living beings in my life at present. It started early when I took my
journal out to the yard on our amazing, cool and breezy morning. The
gate opened and in walked my neighbor with her ancient, sweet, blind,
deaf, arthritic, held together with duct-tape mini-scottie. Oliver
took off and while he didn't touch poor old Boris, he probably scared
the crap out of him by running at him and barking barking barking. My
neighbor knows Ollie and is patient with him. But, I was embarrassed.
I screamed at the top of my lungs, "NO! Oliver, NO!" Come here, I
shouted at him. He slowly lurched towards me, knowing he had done
wrong. I brought him into the house and to his chagrin (and mine, too
really) I put his bark collar on him.

The normally peppy, friendly dog transforms. He is now a grounded
thirteen year old GIRL, moping around the apartment with a
This doesn't however stop him from following me everywhere and getting
under foot like and anxiety-ridden toddler.

I start baking some holiday cookies. No hanging in the kitchen when
I'm cooking. You're in my way and the space is too small. "Go on,
Oliver. Out please" I say firmly, pointing to the other room. He
meanders in a different direction entirely from the one I am pointing
and lingers over his food dish in the kitchen by the fridge. He won't
make eye contact with me.

If the dog doesn't look at you, is he still in the way?

Um, yeah, you are still in the way.
I patiently coax him to move. Pointing again, which he usually gets.
"Ollie, that way please" I tell him nicely. He walks to my feet and
sits on the kitchen mat by the sink, "Did you mean here?" he says to
me with a look.
Um, no.

My dog has reinvented lollygagging.

Eventually I get him out of the kitchen and praise praise praise him
for going the correct direction. But rather than sit in the doorway,
out of my way as he usually does, he continues walking, disappearing
into the living room, which links to the bedroom, which links back to
the kitchen. "Fine, you don't want me here, I'm leavin'" he says. Off
to eat worms no doubt.

Having friends over tonight, I take the dog for a walk before they
show up. He has been cooped up a bit today and following me from one
room to the next as I sew, watch TV, bake, clean, vacuum, and pace as
I chat on the phone hardly counts as stretching one's legs.

So, we head out for a brisk one and he does his usually smelling here
peeing there bit. But he does so in a slightly slower than usual way.
I'm positive it is the collar that has him feeling blue. I know it's
uncomfortable kid, but I'd rather you be uncomfortable for a bit and
get instant distraction at the moment of barking until you catch on,
than you scaring the shit out of some poor little kid or old person.
Heck, maybe you'd even bite someone? I don't know.

No in fact, I do know, you little punk. You BIT your human girlfriend
Rachel when she was dog-sitting you once. True, she grabbed your
collar but still, nipping is not cool at all! If someone's attacking
ME, by all means go Kujo in his ass, but if someone's just trying to
get you outside to pee? Chill.

Back to the walk. He is meandering, again, back and forth, walking in
my path over and over.

I just can't decide WHICH side I want to commit to sniffing, he thinks.

Unfortunately, on one of his lane-changes I accidentally step on him.
He lets out a yelp and out of frustration, I shout, "Damn it Oliver,

And to my complete shock, He did! My dog walked directly at my left
side, if not a pace behind me, for the last half of the walk. This is
the thing with adopting - you never know what may come-up.

In my frustration and poor patience, I do forget that I have a very
good boy here.

My friend Shannon arrives for the movie and I tell her about my
frustrating day with the dog. I am preparing munchies for our movie
viewing and the dog is again under foot. I give a smile to Shannon,
wordlessly saying "it's been like this all day!"

"Go on, Oliver," I coax him with a point out of the room. He leaves.

I continue telling Shannon about the day as I arrange cookies onto
plates. I look up at her and she is looking from me to my knees then
back again giggling. I look down, and who should be at my feet,
sitting quietly and watching me tell stories but my stealth hairy

Yup, that's Ollie.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Indian Clay...Or Is It?

Oliver greeted me with his usual peppiness. I brought him outside
where I sat at our stone table and bench and checked-out my mail while
he wandered, looking for lizards and smelling the scents of the
neighbors' dogs. I look up for him frequently because although he
rarely wanders, the side gate out to the front yard is open.

About twenty-seconds after I check for him, I look up again and he is
gone. I call for him; no fluffy white head pops up from behind the
bushes. I take a little walk and find that he has, indeed, wandered to
the front yard.

He has leaves all over him and when I call for him, he shakes them off
before heading my way. As he gets closer it quickly becomes clear that
leaves are not the only things on him.

My dog is covered in POO! I mean, gooey, smeared, wet, fresh,
stinky-winky poo! By the looks of it, the Budweiser holiday
Clydesdales were passing through the neighborhood and decided to leave
a little present in our front yard. No, make that a BIG present!

One paw is covered like he's wearing a mitten woven with the
finest...doodoo. There's a giant smear along one side of his back,
there's some on his back leg and on the side of his face. I lift his
ear. Yup, it's gotten INTO my dog's ear. It looks like he had an
Indian clay-tossing contest with neighborhood teenagers or something!

There's actually so much of it that I find it hysterical rather than
disgusting. Not that it wasn't disgusting. It was, but Oliver has
never been a poo diver, as it were. He won't even eat anything off the
floor (see "Marbles" entry below!).

Apparently he chose to make up for six months of being world's
cleanest dog with one big effort.

Needless to say, he was hosed down in the yard, scrubbed, soaped,
sanitized, and fire hosed within an inch of his life.
He is a stinky pup no more.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

C(r)apitol One

This is my warning to all who enjoy having their sanity - never
sign-up for a Capitol One card!

I have been a credit card user for about 12 years now. I have
excellent credit. I pay my cards in full and on time consistently.

A few months ago I had work done on my car that left me with a $700
bill. Yikes. So, you can imagine my panic when I received my credit
card bill and found I had been charged TWICE for the service from the
mechanic! ..

I went to the mechanic and because they use a third party to do their
billing, they couldn't just refund me on the spot. They did offer to
get a hold of the credit card company for me, or fill out whatever
paperwork the company required. And, I received a letter later in the
month from the mechanic apologizing for the error and that I was not
the only one of their clients to fall victim to a computer

I called Capitol One, expecting to be told I could deduct the amount
in question from my payment to them. To paraphrase - I had to make
multiple calls and was put on hold for extended periods of time and in
the end, once they got their heads out from under their bums, was told
they could find no record of this second billing in question anyway
(even though I could see it on my card activity record on their
website), I was told to fax a letter with about 52 facts included,
along with the auto bill I paid, receipts, my handprint, cheek swab,
and a signed letter promising to name my first kid Capitol.

Oh, and I had to PAY the charge in question (I had to dip into my
savings in order to pay it and keep my financial world balanced). I
have never had a credit card company insist I pay a charge in

It has not been settled yet, but once I'm reimbursed, I will be
canceling my account, for sure.

Oh, and in order to look into how many "reward points" I'd earned
through the account, I had to do a Google search for "No Hassle
Rewards" because it is in no way connected to the main website for
Capitol One. No Hassle my ass!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


A few days ago, I opened my front door to let Oliver to frolick in the backyard. Recently, when I attempt to take him out, he has started running to his food dish and eating the kibble he left in there from the morning. I'm not sure why he does it.

Maybe one time he came back inside from playing and noticed his bowl was empty, forgetting that perhaps it was he who ate it all earlier in the day.

"Oliver, it will still be there when we come back in", I told him.

He stood still with his face in the bowl, gobbling. I needed to get to work.

"Ollie, enough, let's go!"  I said impatiently, at which point he walked a few steps to the center of the kitchen, lowered his head, and opened his mouth letting about 15 completely dry, completely un-chewed pieces of kibble roll out of his mouth like marbles and onto the linoleum before stepping over them and heading out the door as if to say, "Fine but don't think I'm eating that up off the floor later, because I'm not gonna"

OK then.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I adopted Ollie back in June. Well, was given him, really.

Brought to believe that females are better dogs to have, I was
skeptical when I met Oliver at his foster home. That, and the fact
that he was white and brown (instead of black ad white) had me
hesitating. But, his foster parents were very cool. I could take him
home and keep him as long as I wanted and they would take him back if
it didn't work out.

So, I took the doggy, who is half the size of any dogs that I have
grown-up with (Old English Sheepdogs and a Beardie) and went home with
him. I talked to him in the car, "I'm not so sure about you" I told
him, assuming that it needed to be love at the very first site.

At which point he rested his chin on my arm, which I had resting on
the center consol.

OK, you're a keeper.
For now.

That was back in June. It was a very short period of time until I
realized he was for me. Well behaved, he'd sit and lie down on
command. Eager and sweet, he'd follow me all around the apartment and
still does. If he's extra needy, his nose will bonk into the back of
my knee if I stop short while wandering through the apartment.

When I got him, his name was Astro. Totally dumb name, if you ask me.

I sent an email out to my friends and family and received a huge list
of name options, including -
Cap, short for Capitalist Lap Dog
Imp, short for Imperialist Running Dog
Dogmatix, in honor of the French comic strip dog
Chad, a historically significant Florida foo foo.
Getoverhier (German)
Gedovaheaa (Boston)
Prince Buck.
Otis or Monty
Wilson, Max, Peter, Freddy, Oliver, Buddy, Sam, Lucky, Dakota, Gage,
Cody, Marvin.
Rochester (a little much to be saying all the time but I like it)
Wilkie (I Love this name in belongs to the writer Wilkie
Collins. I wouldn't name a child Wilkie, but I certainly would name an
animal Wilkie).
Wordsworth (a little heavy handed with the literary influence, but it
would be fun to say, "This is my dog, Wordsworth. And the name works
well with the "contemplative-investigative-monk" picture you have of
Mr. Mell
Bartleby (Bart or Barty for short)
Chewbacca (you could call him Chewie for short!)
Jodi just thought of Churchill!
Hermeto (named after Hermeto Pascoal, Brazilian musician)
Astro Joe Hakey
Bogart or Bogey
atrayu (Neverending Story fans?)
Leo, Otis, Louie or Edgar

But it was my friend Christina's student who suggested Oliver.
So, Oliver it became.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Entry One - why I signed up

Well, I've been hearing about this blogging craze for a while and frankly, it creeps me out. Anything that has everyone talking about it usually has me running the other way (except of course LOST, Grey's Anatomy and a long list of other mainstream things that I have fallen victim to)… OK, so I'm not as independent as I'd like to think. Fine, I'm a joiner, OK? I'm a big fat wannna be like everyone else joiner!

Peer pressure has gotten the better of me (thanks Nirvi) and I decided to sign up when I realize how frequently I had ridiculous stories about my dog, Oliver. Chatting with Shannon over dinner the other night, I thought it would be a fun place to chronicle my adventures with my little weirdo. So, really, I can blame Shannon, who encouraged me to give it a try.

Now, I'm not one of those crazed animal owners. I don't sleep with him in my bed, dress him up… not on a regular basis anyway, (I'll get to that), spoil him rotten, take him everywhere with me and assume that everyone loves them as much as I do. 

Still, he can be pretty hilarious.

Since I hate long blog entries I'm going to tell the stories, even the older ones, and separate blog entries. Being overwhelmed by too many words is the worst… that, and world hunger… And war… And other stuff which are far worse than too many words in a blog entry.