Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Hurt.

Everywhere. Worked like a dog today between one house and the other. Well, other peoples' dogs, maybe, because mine aren't worth a toot, employment-wise. So...not enough energy to write much today. I can report that after ordering his own dinner incorrectly, Alex ate mine while trying to convince me that what he put in front of me was what I had ordered. Also, Bella's dinner "tasted chickeny." Which was a relief, since it was chicken lo mein.

I'm reading the 10th in the series of James Patterson's Alex Cross series, London Bridges (yup, total brain-candy--I'm too tired for anything else; and I will forgive Patterson the Flying Orphans novels if he will keep Alex Cross in my life), if anyone would like to have it when I'm done. First contact gets it; email me at mishahouse at aol dot com. Call it my own little bookcrossing.

Now go see Jane. To the right. Thumbnail is this color.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Best Excuse Yet

Alex and I have an agreement, that has gone a long way toward improving our financial situation since we started doing it, of always consulting each other on any expenditure of over $50 on any single item. It does help your budget when the left-hander knows what the right-hander is doing. Anyway, when he went to Sears to buy our new refrigerator (and nothing irks me financially like a big expense that is not budgeted, but can't be helped...grrrr), he came home with a brand-new, big ol' leafblower in the truck.

Now, this is something we definitely need out here, so I wasn't going to give him a hard time about it, but of course I had to tease him a little.

"Um, I don't remember approving the purchase of a lawn-maintenance appliance."

"Honey, it was coming right at me."

God, I love him.

And not to nag, but if you're not clicking through to check out Jane over in the "rent my blog" space (and a mere 10% of you are--I'm watching!), you are really missing out. She's only got a couple of days left here; help me make them good ones, OK?

Because The Pictures Are Always Better When My Sister Takes Them

My wild little angel. I do think I will keep her.No, not siblings. Cousins. Andrea's son, my daughter. Look like they belong together, much? Those recessive genes will out! More here, if you like.


Also? BABY FIREBALL IS HERE! Welcome, Lovely Lydia. You are amazing and beautiful, and so help me if I don't love you already.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Out And About

Or, Can't. Stop. Photo. Blogging. Sorry for the tedium, but some things are just better left to pictures. (Click any of them to enlarge, if you like.) Had a million errands to run today, consisting largely of a huge excursion to Wal-Mart, during which, you will be proud to note, I did not Freak Out. But I have to show you what I saw there, because...well, I can't purge it from my own mind any other way than by polluting yours. First of all, let me assure you that I am not a Wal-Mart snob (and yes, we all hate it, don't we? but it really can't be avoided here). Really, I'm not. But instead of going to my usual "Super" Wal-Mart today, I went to the closer, but smaller and more rural store in the other town of the two between which our new place is sandwiched.

It's a whole different world, the small Wal-Mart. I couldn't find anything, and got close enough to the precipice of the Freak Out that I left without several things on my list. I will get them later at the "proper" Wal-Mart in the other town (and nope, there's no K-Mart, Target, or anything else in either town). So while I was wandering around the garden section looking for food for my newly acquired koi-pond fish (apparently there are 30-40 fish in there; can you believe it?), I stumbled across a large display of what, to me, was a disturbing item, given the amount of hard-won shelf-space devoted to it. The buyers for the store obviously expect it to be a huge seller. I mean, I know this is Arkansas, but...OK. Remember Billy Bass? The stupid plastic animated fish on a wall-mount who would flop and sing "Take Me To The River?" Well, this item was along those lines: The package reads, "DIGGER DOG--He digs! He scratches! He passes gas!" And Bella really, really wanted one. Right then. When she heard the farting. *le sigh.* Of course, I will be sending this gift to every Jack Russell terrier-owner I know.

And now for some of my favorite things about our new location:The Squirrel Bridge. We can't figure out anything else it could be. It's about 2 feet long by 10 inches wide, and leads from a tree in the front pasture over the fence into the terraced garden that surrounds the house. Anybody else have any ideas about this structure? It's like a deer stand for gnomes, but it faces our home, which would be troubling if that were the case.This is just a small part of the huge, crowded goat farm you have to pass to get to my house. It smooth cracks me up, and there's almost always a loose goat or two in the road, or some lounging roosters or something. I probably wouldn't laugh as hard, though, if I were the owner of this property,which is slap next door, quite neat and proper, and by neighbors' accounts, was there first. Ouch.Also? At the local Chinese joint? Wings from chickens OR DRAGONS, people.

AND FINALLY (audible sighs of relief coming through my modem, I swear I can hear them), the latest in the My Husband Is A Macho, Macho Man saga. He was out at Home Depot, picking up supplies for Manly Man Projects, because he can in fact do anything (except make coherent analogies), and called here to see if I needed anything. Sweet, huh? And how did I repay that? Well, I sent him next door to Kroger for Monistat 1-Day Treatment (Male readers, you do not have to avert your eyes, it won't get graphic, I promise. I will say, though, that I never had a yeast infection in my LIFE until I had a baby. Thanks, Bella!). He never flinched, because that's the kind of guy he is. Uber-secure in his masculinity, and not daunted in the least by the task of picking up feminine hygeine products. So, hey, here's some useful information--call it a public service:See that little plastic bar-code thingy on the right side of the box? That, my friends, is a SECURITY TAG. On Monistat. The kind of security tag that sets off loud alarms if you try to take it out the door of the huge, highly-populated store, if the checker doesn't remove it. Which, as you can see, she didn't. So Alex had to show his receipt to the Monistat Cop at the front of the store to prove he'd paid for the yeast infection medication. And he didn't even TELL me this story until hours later, because he hardly thought anything of it! THAT'S a real man, ladies and gentlemen! I myself would have been mortified, because as a (somewhat) proper Southern Lady, I like to pretend that I do not have sex, indigestion, body odor, bowel movements, or flatulence--much LESS yeast infections, which surely must indicate some sort of character flaw.

So what's up with the security tag on the Monistat? Are there really that many criminally-minded, candida albicans-overrun women loosed on this part of the world? Is it a black market item? We use it in dogs' ears sometimes when they get yeast infections in there, but I can't really think of any other "off-label" uses for it, unless it's like the cough medicine/methamphetamine thing, and punk kids are now manufacturing a topical form of some ecstasy-like drug using Monistat as a key ingredient.

Oh, man...I was SO wasted on yeast-balls last night!

Design Challenge, Master Bedroom

22' x 15' bedroom. Two large windows with wood blinds on one wall. The challenge: Draw the eye away from the dark sage/pine green carpet that we can't afford to replace right now, while simultaneously complementing the bedding, etc. that you already own.If a spouse objects to color schemes or execution of design, sometimes it's best to just knock them unconscious at the very beginning.Besides, there are other assistants to be had. This one is apprently union.Also, my sister helped.Stop at this point, and prepare yourself for the simple joy of applying a "faux finish." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!! Whew! Sorry for the outburst. Let me just wipe the tears from my eyes...ahem. There now. Anyway, after 3 more days of sponging and rolling and "dabbing" and cutting in,wind up here, and curse the people who sold you on the idea of the fake stucco finish with a plague of frogs. Also, the people who make that instructional videotape? THEY LIE. Let my pain serve as a warning to you. If I can save one person from faux finishing, I have done well.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Blustery Day Horse Blogging

Just a few random shots of the equine members of the family from today, right before the rains came.Chow time for the herd bosses and their proteges. Note the very pregnant Shetland pony in the background, and the OCD poodle behind that.Our beautiful Kate, who really is very lucky that she is stunningly gorgeous. Really.And this, I just love. It's a May/December romance; he's 25, she's 4, he had a baby with her momma last year, but somehow they make it work.

And I just have to share my favorite horse-related story of at least the last year: One of my best friends was visiting the other day, and I hadn't seen her in a long time. We were catching up on horse-show stuff, since I've been largely out of that loop for a while. We've been Arabian and Half-Arabian enthusiasts for a long, long time. My friend, who, like myself, tends toward the zaftig, was telling me how a local trainer/judge had told her that she should lose a little weight because in the show ring, she "looked too big for her horse."

She said, "And you know, I thought about that. I thought about all the times I'd lost weight, and wound up weighing about the same thing again, and how this seems to be where my body is comfortable, and that my husband likes me this way...and you know what? I said, 'All right, so I'm too big for my horse.' (pause) And so, I bought a bigger horse!" (showing me a picture of herself aboard a gorgeous Half-Arabian bucksin) "I look pretty good on that one, don't I?"

I have not yet stopped laughing and appreciating this particular beautiful woman's response to just one more societal demand upon women to conform to a narrow definition of "beauty." Brava. You know who you are!

See Jane. See Jane Write. See Jane NOW!

Seriously. I'm way late in doing this, because we lost modem connection for 24 hours, but this week's tenant is someone who is honestly and truly an inspiration to me, in so many ways. I told her recently that she's my hero, and I wasn't even kidding. You can spend hours in her archives and links, and it's time well spent. Jane is that rare individual who is a survivor...of things that don't go away, if you get what I mean--things she continues to live and deal with, and also serves as a shining beacon of hope and courage to others facing some of the same issues. THAT is the person we should all try to be, and my life is truly better for having "found" her. Jane is a family gal, with a loving husband, the titular "Tarzan" of "Jane Loves Tarzan" and a wealth of family and friends. She continues gracefully to cope with tough issues such as bipolar disorder (both as a sufferer of the disorder herself and in a "caregiver" capacity to a loved one), depression, grief, loss, addiction...and just keeps shining through. She personifies the idea of refined silver--or tempered steel, depending on the situation--in that she has become a stronger, more beautiful and complete person, and more able (and always willing) to help others through each "test of fire" from which she emerges.

The point? Click on her thumbnail to the right, and check out Jane. You won't be sorry. Show the love, people. I mean it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Moving Day Looms Large, And I Am Unprepared!

If anyone is missing email responses from me, I apologize. My computer access is random and spotty during this move. And I have SO MUCH I need to say right now, and movies I desperately need to talk about ("Grizzly Man," anyone?), and no time to do it just yet. But I do have a few little gems to share from the last day or two, then I'm off again.

Bella is having a bit of trouble coming to terms with the vagaries of the English language, and I can't say I blame her. Personal pronouns have been a bear, as well as verb forms. But yesterday, getting her out of the tub and wrapping her in a towel, she said,

"Mommy, my foots are wet! Dry my foots!"

"It's 'FEET,' Sweetie. My FEET."

"No, my FOOTS are wet!"

(pointing to one foot) "See? This is one foot. (pointing to other foot) "And this is one foot." (holding both feet at the same time) "Both of them together are your feet. Two feet! See?"

(pause, and serious expression) "Mommy, that is just crazy."

Last night Alex and I went to pick out a new bed, which was a Christmas present from his wonderful (have I mentioned lately how very very much I lucked out in the mother-in-law department?) Mom. We got a real, actual grown-up bed! Here it is! It's coming Saturday! Wheee!Then we stopped on the way home to eat at a local Italian restaurant that is a favorite of mine for their chocolate cake. That's right, I pick restaurants according to dessert quality. Anyway, I pointed out shortly after we sat down that Alex's shirt sort of blended in to the tablecloth on our table. His response was to draw his arm inside his sleeve and "disappear." See? He's like the Predator. He could be at the table next to you right now. Oh, and a just a warning, ladies--if you are shopping for beds or bedding with a male-type person, especially if he is married to you, and you point out that the coverlet he is sitting on costs $1500, you have just dramatically increased the chances that he will fart into it. --Note to my mother: This is a purely hypothetical situation, and you understand I'm not saying it HAPPENED. Not in so many words, anyway.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Act Like Ya Know.


If you subscribe to The Crisis magazine, you may vote online for the 2006 NAACP Image Awards. For whom, you ask? Aaron McGruder's "The Boondocks" in the Best Comedy Series category. Heck, for the Martin Luther King episode alone, but then add in last Sunday's "The Itis, " and just be impressed. Aaron McGruder says so many things that need to said, and that the rest of us lack the courage to say...he simply deserves the appreciation and attention to his message.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Busted



Bella caught sight, for the first time, of the logo on the package of bands I use to put her hair up. This is what is pictured on the bags, and yes, they are the bands that are made for wrapping up long show-poodle hair: The Daughter was NOT amused, and the sight of the picture on the bag drew this response: "Heeeeeeeyyyyy...these are for DOGGIES!!!"

Dang it. Now I have to go buy real ponytail-holders. We're hoping she won't catch on as quick about the crate we keep her in when we go out. (Note to overzealous indignant moms of the internet: we do not actually crate our daughter. Except at dog shows. No, seriously, never. Just like the drivewayside alligator pit, this is a complete fabrication. She did, however, teethe on Greenies.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Life Lesson:


NEVER DON'T LISTEN TO ALICE. My doc's idea of "gradual weaning" off of Effexor starts with halving the dose, from 150 mg. to 75 mg. For those of you who are thinking to yourselves, "Why, cutting something abruptly in half does not sound 'gradual' at all," you would be CORRECT. I knew better. I read the Crazymeds bulletin boards. I read Finslippy. I KNEW BETTER. So this is my fourth day on 75 mg., and Oh, Dear Merciful Heavens And All The Little Bunnies, The Misery. And Alice--dear Alice: My legs, especially the left, HURT SO MUCH. I am dizzy, spazzy, irritable to the nth degree, and there seems to be some sort of gray scratchy lint inside the front of my head, just to the sides. I can almost see it with my peripheral vision, but when I try to look straight at it, it runs away.

So anyway, I called the doc's office, frightened them a bit, and they are going to let me have the starter pack that contains the 37.5 mg. capsules, which I will add to the 75's for a while. Wish me luck. I might have had more foresight had I seen that foreign packaging before starting the stuff.

Oh, and while you're here, there are only two days left to visit Mrs. Aginoth from the sidebar over there...she has 75 unique click-throughs from us so far; what say we go for 100 before her week is up? That means if you have not clicked her pretty pink thumbnail yet, do it now and give her a visit. Thank you!

I'm back to the arduous task of trying to keep my head on the top of my neck now...see you all later. If you don't see me, look under my desk. Please.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cold And Wet, Old And Achey, Hinky And Linky

OFF WE WENT today...to Wal-Mart for miscellaneous supplies, then again to Sherwin-Williams for more paint. MORE PAINT! Wheeee! I can tell you, because you are my friend, and you won't say anything, that getting out of bed today HURT. We were moving like arthritic koala bears, but without the cuteness, or, sadly, the being stoned on eucalyptus leaves. And it was pouring rain. And just sooooo cold. So we made our stops, took turns getting out and getting drenched, compared aches, pains, vairous megrims, and the combined effects of starting/stopping our various drugs, and tacitly agreed to GO HOME. The old one. We just can't do it today. The crouching, the climbing, the stretching, the eye-strain, the inhalation of fumes...it's just too much. So we're resting. That's right. RESTING. Got a problem with that? Alex is watching Denver/Pittsburgh, with the big Samoan knocking the crap out of those nice boys from Colorado, and I'm reading Southern Living, Oxford American, and bookmarks magazines...ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

Bella's the smartest one of the bunch--she refused to even get out of her warm pajamas this morning, so she rode around warm and dry in the truck eating french fries and singing, and is now nestled snugly in Daddy's recliner in those same pajamas looking smugly superior. I think she earned it this time, too.

Can I just share with you a few blogs I have discovered of late? Actually, I'm gonna, so forget I asked that. There will be more later, most likely, and I will be changing up my blogroll, but here are just a few of the ones you may not have noticed, and should:

Jurgen Nation--my favorite from my own category in the BoB awards. AND a professional photographer. Spend some of your money with her. I DID. I'll show you the pieces after they're framed and hung. Who knows, you may choose some of the same ones.

colouring outside the lines--OK, you can tell by the way she spells "color" that Andrea is Canadian. So based on past blog - related experience, I already love her. Great blog, and oh, my, she's an engaging artist. Spend some of your money with her, too. Again, I DID! Not telling which piece yet, but you're welcome to poke around on her gallery site and guess.

Genuine!--Not the horse, all you Arkansas Arabian Horse Club members. This one is an official Hot Dad. Trust me, you will LOVE him.

Paper Napkin--Is it possible that you don't read Sheryl daily? Whatever this year's biggest blog award is, she should win it.

Vesper's Escape--Not only is she smart, quick-witted, and poetic, but she's gosh-darned adorable, and has the most awesome haircut that I will be taking pictures of to my stylist. And instead of just a Creative Commons license? Her site says, "May you burn in h**l if you copy my writing." Deserves much attention.

ONE-MAN BANDWIDTH--You just have to go, and see for yourself. I could write a whole post extolling the virtues of this amazing site of an American professor teaching in China, but really, you MUST see it.

Mommymatic--Cute, funny, smart, deserves hundreds more readers. She claims to have only three readers, but I know she's lying because there are always more comments than that. How do I already know she's quality? Two of her favorite books--To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, AND A Prayer For Owen Meany, my favorite of many dearly-loved John Irving books. And obviously, anyone who agrees with me on something so important as literature MUST be cool, right? RIGHT? Yeah.

And just while I'm sitting here watching it rain: Gretchen, PLEASE push out Baby Fireball! What are you trying to prove, Ms. Week 41???

And, for you techno-geeks: I dropped my Sony digital camcorder/camera, and now the flash won't work. Send it back to Sony, or try for local repair?

And one last thing, since I missed it last week: DELURK! DELURK! DELURK! Come on and comment, ya big pansies.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Painting Tip Or Two

If you even think that the existing color should be covered with primer before you add your new color, then YOU SHOULD PRIME BEFORE YOU PAINT. Otherwise be prepared to apply, oh, 7 coats of the new color. Also? Never take your eyes off the toddler. Never.In other news this weekend, the end of an era: Argyle, one of the Barbados/St. Croix sheep that I raised from a lamb when his mother died, bottle-feeding him daily in my lap on the sofa, died yesterday. The average life expectancy is about 8 years, and Argyle was 9, so I guess it was a good life. NowRamsey is looking nervous. I can tell he's thinking, "Shoot, I'm 2 days older than he was! But he looks as vigorous as ever, and I imagine he will move with us and help break in the new homestead.

Only FIVE, You Say?

Before we get started, please, especially if you haven't yet, look to the right and click on the pretty pink thumbnail that will take you to Mrs. Aginoth's site, which documents the challenges and triumphs of a British mum with a handful of kids and a busy mind. My page will stay open while you visit her. Go, now--scoot!

I was tagged by the sublime Ariel, "in honor of [my] supreme eccentricity," (I'm really hoping he meant to say "eclecticism," and was simply in a hurry and made an oversight) to complete the "5 Weird Habits" meme that is going around. Had anyone else asked, I might have ignored it, but since I can refuse Ariel nothing, especially now that he's going to be a daddy for the first time, I'll give it a whirl. I may have a hard time confining myself to only five.

1. The sound of other people chewing--wet, smacky, clacky chewing-- makes me want to remove my own head with a forceful twisting motion just to keep from hearing it any more. Especially cereal, which has the possibility of slurping AND crunching, and especially over the phone, a practice which should be monitored and punishable by a series of ever-increasing fines. Restaurants should be relatively noisy just to keep me from running screaming into the night.

2. And speaking of food...in a regular meal, meaning the kind that is served on a plate, hot, and not in sandwich form, I have to have a tiny bit of everything in each bite. The correct order is meat, vegetable(s), starch (potatoes or rice or pasta), ending with bread, if bread is served. To my husband's great amusement, if I run out of just one of these items, I'm done with my meal. He also thinks it's bizarre that I could not in a million years eat just a plate of eggs. But I can't. Not without, at the very least, toast.

3. I sleep better with at least one dog in my bed. Two or more is even better.

4. As progressive as I am considered to be, in church, I am a traditionalist, particularly when it comes to congregational singing. I don't like the new "modern" choruses that are projected up onto the holy jumbo-tron for everyone to sing along with, and I dearly miss the old hymns, sung from a hymnal, with notes and harmony and a good old "Ahhhh-Mehhhnnn" at the very end. I miss singing entire hymns, with all the verses. Yep, I'm a church-music curmudgeon, grumbling about "those darn kids with their music."

5. If the head of my bed is against the same wall as the bedroom door (as it will be in the new house), I have to sleep on the side closest to the door. Note that I do not say I "prefer" to sleep on that side of the bed, I HAVE to. Or my head will explode, or I will at the very least make the lives of every sentient being within 100 feet of me an absolute misery until I am in my rightful spot. Been that way since childhood, and even sleeping alone, I do not occupy the center of a bed, but rather that side nearest the door.

Oh, there are SO many more! Ariel chose wisely. On a trail ride (on horseback), I have to ride in front. I am competitive to a ridiculous degree, and will throw ugly, childlike fits or pout when I lose a game. I have to have the AC on in the car year-round. I'm a control-freak to a ridiculous degree.

And what is tickling me about this exercise is that I could have just posted the absolute opposite of JenB's list: I hate wearing socks, I love fruits and chutneys and compotes and lovely grape/walnut salads, I love washing my hair, I adore old black & white movies (really, how can you live a proper and complete life without at least the Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart classics? One day I will tape Jen's eyes open and make her watch these things for HER OWN GOOD), and I love to have furniture arranged on an angle, if the room is large enough to accomodate it. BUT I LOVE JEN! Explain that, all you internet-brains!

At this point, I invite my mother, my sister, my husband, and anyone else who knows me to expound on this list in the comments section. I'm sure Alex will have something to say about my feet or bell peppers and onions later this evening.

And I won't tag anyone specifically, but if you have an oddity or two you'd like to air, now's the time to share it. Come on, come clean!

Friday, January 20, 2006

How You Can Tell...

...That You Live In Arkansas:

1. There is a billboard on the interstate that begins with, "Remember..." The rest of the admonition is not "to buckle your seatbelt," or "to drive carefully," but "to tag your deer immediately!"

2. You're listening to a radio spot in which "man on the street" interviews are being conducted regarding public awareness of the Emergency Preparedness Program of an area military arsenal. When one man is asked what he would do in case of emergency, he replies, and I quote: "Well, if I had access to my vehicle, I reckon I'd just run off!"

...That You And Your Spouse Are Saturated In Film Culture:

1. Upon hearing the above quote on the radio, you and your spouse turn to each other and channel "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" shouting gleefully, "R-U-N-N-O-F-T!"

2. While painting your new house, radio blasting, the song, "Stuck in the Middle With You," by the one-hit wonder Stealer's Wheel comes on. You do not happily reminisce about your childhood and the pleasant times associated with the music. No. Instead, you and your spouse BOTH start dancing around exactly like Michael Madsen in "Reservoir Dogs," weilding your paintbrushes like straight-razors, as if you're about to slice each other's ears off. Oh, yeah.
...That Your Spouse Needs His Hearing Checked:

When you ask him if he'll get you a B.C. Powder, and he asks you why in the world you want "feces powder."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Flotsam

Well, the bad news first. We lost the smallest of Gabby's pups during the night last night, a little boy. We don't know why, but sometimes Nature knows things that we don't, and that's a sad fact of breeding. The remaining three are fat and vigorous and doing well. At this point it looks like two silver boys and a blue girl, but it's still early to know the colors for sure.

Hope's three are doing great, and are so beautiful, with great, thick, curly coats. We will definitely have a hard time picking our "keeper" from that litter. They will be a month old this weekend!

I know I promised paint-blogging today, but we wound up going to doctors all day instead of painting! Tomorrow, I swear. Anyway, Alex went back in about the swelling in his lower legs and ankles, and the doc thinks it's due to the hypothyroidism, but they went ahead and did an ultrasound to check for clots anyway. Then we went to the psychiatrist (for me)...it looks like we are going to sloooooowly wean me off the Effexor, starting by cutting back to 75mg. I'll let you know if I go all finslippy. The doc did seem to think that Alex's hypothyroidism is likely caused by the lithium he's been on for a year--so he's to stop that cold turkey. Yikes! Hopefully his thyroid will self-correct after a bit, and his moods won't go all wonky in the process. He's been having great fun with me by pretending to go instantly insane during quiet times. Ha, ha.

Oh, and we tried to go refrigerator shopping, since we need one for the new house, and they're on sale at Sears. Did you know that Sears is horribly depressing? Well, the one we went to was, anyway. We left empty-handed. If anyone has any raves about their personal refrigerator experiences, now is the time to share. We're looking for something in a side-by-side, with brushed/satin stainless steel finish.
Finally, I have a new tenant for the next week. You can visit her by clicking the pretty pink thumbnail in my sidebar, top right. Since opening for bids this morning, I had 9 bids for the spot, which overwhelmed me a bit. I would ask those of you who bid to just keep coming back--I looked at all the blogs and they were all good! This week's guest, Mrs. Aginoth, was the first person who was kind enough to host MY blog as a tenant, and she's just lovely and entertaining, and oh, so British. Her blog is "The Musings of a Juggling Mother," which she writes from Somerset, England. She is smart, thoughtful, and witty, and today she made reference to a Samuel Beckett play, just in passing. That's the kind of gal she is. 'Nuff said. Plus, the color of her margins is the exact color I'm painting my kitchen cabinets. Please click through to see her--this window will remain open underneath. It's the neighborly thing to do!

How Powerful IS Doug Krile?

I'm not sure, but after a mere mention from him, my blog gained 160 votes in 2 hours' time last night, taking me from a 40-vote lead in the Best of the Blogs Awards to a 200-vote lead! The moral? Doug Krile hypnotizes people over the airwaves. View/Listen with caution! And thank you, Doug, for the help.

I've been reminded that the difference between first and second place in the popular vote accounts for a mere 2 percentage points in the overall score for Best New Blog, so the good folks at Sweet Juniper and Jurgen Nation , or really any of the rest of them, could very well still have it allllll over me when the judging is done, but I do want to thank you folks who voted, and hung in there until you were able to vote again. I never could do that, so I admire your perseverance. And if you've been able to vote more than once in a 24-hour period, well, cut it out. ;-)

Actually, check out all the nominees...you're sure to find something you like. Not everything is for everybody, and I'm trying not to have hurt feelings when commentors on the other blogs (in support of their favorites, not intentionally being mean to me) say things like "Ninja Poodles is BORING," or compare me (horrors!) to the movie "Titanic." (That one's OK, BTW--commentor graciously retracted and was very sweet, and we are totally cool, but I did have a fit for a few minutes over the Titanic comparison. Come ON--I'm cool, like, um, "Fargo," right? If I was a movie, I would NEVER feature Leonardo diCaprio, I promise!)

So don't say anything negative about anyone else's blog just because you like mine, OK? I'm proud of my peeps for having resisted that urge so far. Just acknowledge to yourself that it's not for you personally. Remember what your Mama told you--"If you can't say something nice..." You know the rest.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Clip Show" Part 2

Some more "highlights," this time from September, which was a pretty heavy month for me. I promise, tomorrrow there will be at least a little live "paint blogging," because we're having the time of our lives transforming this house. Also, this is where the computer is, and the laptop is still awaiting a part, so when I leave here, I have no computer access. In other words, I'm not ignoring you. Don't be so insecure. And those of you who have stuck with it and finally been able to vote a second time, thank you. It made a HUGE difference today! Now on to the clips:

MARRIAGE
Live-In Entertainment Is SO Convenient
Go Hogs, Go!
Assorted Alex: The Last 24 Hours
In Which My Husband Is Magnificent
OH, The Love (TMI Warning)
Optimism
Can You Spot The Faulty Logic?
Poop, Poop, And Virtual Poop

THE CHILD
Whoopigsooie Baby
I Can Help You
Excerpts From Tonight's Bedtime Tantrum
Two Things*

WELTSCHMERZ AND PERSONAL ANGST
Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?
What Are You Complaining About? You Were Poor, Anyway!
Pre-Shrunk
How I Feel, Semi-Poetically Illustrated
An Obscene Irony

ANIMALS
To Pat: I Had NO IDEA Raccoons Had Internet Access, I Swear!
And.....HORSIEFEST!!

RANDOM BUT THOUGHTFUL
Film Festival #1
Single-Syllable Soul-Searching
Only In The South

*This post makes reference to Google Ads, which I no longer have.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Educate...And Learn

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Getting To Know You...

...Getting to know allllll abouuuut you....

I realize I am getting LOTS of new people here, so I thought I'd make it a little easier than slogging through ALL the archives, for you to get a feel of who we are and what we're about. Over the next couple of days, I'll post some of these "oldies." Think of it as a "clip show." Fun, right? Sure it is. Anyway, these are from July and August, and I've grouped them loosely into categories.

MARRIAGE
Aluminum Underpants
Love = A Lump In My Bed
Alex: Some Pros And Cons Of You
Thanks For The Sympathies
Alex: All Pros, No Cons
In Which Much Poop Is Discussed At McDonald's
Driving Miss Belinda
Got Milk?
I Know Him So Well...It's Frightening
If I Had My Little Way...

TODDLER
I Needa Make You Happy!
NEVERNEVERNEVER!!!
Good Fortune
Uterme, Uteryou, Uterus
Google Straightjackets
The Great Pony-Getting Adventure: A Story In Pictures *

ANIMALS
Not Isaac
THE BEST DOG
Squatting Vermin
Half A Rat And Apology To A Cat
My Recurrent Goat Problem

VARYING DEGREES OF EMOTIONAL INSTABILITY
The Panic, The Panic
Shrunk, And Failure To Communicate

MISCELLLANY
Tweaking Your Crankbait
Don't Mess With Texas Dowagers

*The pony story is really one of my all-time favorites. It was quite a day!

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Now Clear Your Minds. It Knows What Scares You.

Well. Spent the day at the new house today, spoke with the previous owner who was clearing out the last of his family's stuff from the property, and put together a few clues. It's interesting, unnerving, frightening, and funny, depending on your point of view.

First, let me say that the people we bought this house from are the salt of the earth. Absolutely the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, and certainly the kind you want to buy a house from. When we walked in this morning, it was just glowing. Sparkling. Bella exclaimed, "WOW, it's so clean and SHINY!" Poor thing--I hope she took a good look.

Previous Owner gave us the "dirt"--pun intended--on Previous Previous Owner. She had anywhere from 10 to 92 small dogs, depending on which neighbors you ask. The whole place was floored in linoleum, and a wreck. When ruined baseboards were pulled up, wads of dog hair were underneath. Just a mess. Anyway, Previous Owners, angels that they are, lovingly fixed up and cared for this place during the last 8 years, and passed it on to us in near-pristine condition.

I previously showed you the pictures of the 850-square-foot "shop" on the property. The "shop" has always given me the creeps, and I never spent much time in it. At first I just wasn't interested, but when Alex started talking about possibly using it for a grooming building, I just became surprisingly (even to me) adamant about not wanting to be in that building, and not wanting my dogs in there. Alex obviously thought I was nuts, but we cut each other a lot of slack in that regard. To a dog person, this building looks immediately like a kennel, long and narrow. That's just what we think when we see a building like this that is not a mobile home. Once Previous Owner emptied the building, which he was using for storage and the housing of large power tools, it was apparent that the building had, indeed, been a kennel. A kennel for toy dogs. Very small dogs. There are still kennel-run doors on the inside, though they don't go through to the outside because Previous Owner put up nice wood siding on the outside and made it look pleasant.

As we poked around out there today, we found more clues. A full shower/bath stall is there, with eye-hooks bolted in. Breaker switches are labelled "stand dryer," "force dryer," "nursery heat," etc. "Oh, my..." we're saying to each other, "this place was a kennel/grooming shop. How interesting." Alex says, "See? We just make it a grooming place again. It's already set up." I nearly took his head off, and when he asked why not, I just feebly said, "I HATE IT. I just hate it. It...it FEELS bad here. You can have it--do whatever you want in there." (This was quickly amended with the proper admonitions and restrictions, due to the wild-eyed expression that appeared instantly on Alex's face at that last sentence.)

Then, I saw it. Stuck accidentally on a wall near the front door, probably hidden for 8 years by power tools or hip-waders that were stored there. A small address label, with a name I recognized in the "TO:" field. It was a name of some infamy among dog people in these parts, due to a fairly large puppymill bust just about 8 or 9 years ago. I hadn't put it together with the name on the title search, but now it hit me like a ton of bricks. This place was "not clean," as Tangina would say.

Previous Previous Owner was a backyard puppymiller of toys dogs of various breeds...including toy POODLES, and as such was sanctioned and suspended by the AKC after an investigation. That's right. There are restless poodle spirits here, I just know it. No wonder I hated that building. Not to mention how many little bodies are probably buried all over the place. There will have to be a cleansing. Something along the lines of burning sage, Lysol disinfectant, and some sort of Baptist-approved dance--I'm not sure.

Cross over children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the Light. There is peace and serenity in the Light.

But wait--there's more. Examination of the title search on this property shows that it was once owned by the owner of a couple of local strip clubs. This character was Previous Previous Previous Owner, hereinafter referred to PPPO. PPPO bought the place, lived there briefly, and BURNED IT DOWN. That's right. He then sold to PPO, the puppymiller, as a "burn-out," for a price equal to the value of the land. PPO had a new house built--the current house--and spent the next 8 years junking it up and never bothering to clear away the burned-down house... while she earned a living trading on the flesh of a multitude of little dogs. PO--our angelic sellers--bought the place from her 8 years ago, at a bargain (depending on how you value sweat equity) price, and made it into the lovely thing we own as of yesterday. Oh, and they bulldozed and hauled off the old burned-down house, too, so there is no trace of it now, thank goodness!

And somehow, there is a nice, full-circle feeling to it now that I reflect on it. Our loved and cherished pets filling a space where their kin were once a mere commodity, relegated to an out-building 100 feet from the house, factory-farming puppies for profit. Our new little puppies will move into the house with us, and will be played with daily and loved and respected. And this house will be "clean." PLEASE Click the "BOB" Button and Vote for Ninja Poodles in the "Best New Blog" Category!