Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bye for now.

Mom is packing up the computer, and the internet thingy, so no more blogging for me until we get home (unless I get internet on the road, which, if I recall from Mom's Facebook updates on the trip down, is possible). So, have good ones, and I'll post next from the Land Where It Is Supposed To Snow All Weekend. I haven't decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing, yet. Mom seems to think that it is a bad thing. She keeps muttering something about leaving 85 degree weather for 35 degree weather....

Bye for now!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

When Mom and I went on our walk this afternoon, she decided to bring the camera along because we are leaving Arizona soon, and Mom seems to like to take pictures of places that she won't see for a few months. Fine by me. When Mom has the camera, it usually means that there will be lots of pictures of ME!!!!

So, I was surprised when not even a quarter mile into the walk, Mom jumps about six feet sideways, yanks me with her, makes me sit, and then whips out the camera.



Oh crap! That thing ratttles!!!! MOM!!!! Let's get Out Of Here!


Mom snapped off a few pictures before telling me that we were going to walk In The Middle Of The Road for the rest of the walk. Okay. Fine by me. While I like investigating the rabbits and the lizards that I see out on the road, I'm not so keen on those slidey things that rattle. No Thank You.

So, off we go.

I love this sight, because it means we are going up the Closed Road. Which means that I can walk all over the road, chase rabbits (to the extent that my leash will let me), look at the water, and not have to worry about cars. It is Heaven.

As you can see from the waves, there was a pretty stiff south wind.

Which led to Serious Ear Flappage.

I honestly feel sorry for dogs that don't have ears that can flap. *cough*German Shepards*cough* Fr'instance. If you don't have ears that flap, how can you possibly enjoy all that being a dog has to offer?!?

Mom wants me to insert a scenery photo. Fine.

But there was more Ear Flappage. Which is lots of fun!

And. Then.

On the way back down the road. (After I had stopped to look at scenery...)

We. Saw. Another. Snake.


This time, Mom did NOT whip out her camera, as this snake was a tad bit closer and slithered off into the bushes Quite Quickly, while Mom was still Panicking. Me? I was cool as a cucumber. But I heard this thing rattle. I Do. Not. Like. Snakes. Especially. Ones. That. Rattle.

After that, we took off at a brisk pace (ears flapping quite heavily in the wind) and went home.

And then Mom got on the internet and found this:

What to do if your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake

Because TaiChi is so old (and don't forget, venerable, with magical powers), we always have antibiotics on hand. And Mom and Dad have promised me that they will get me vaccinated for next fall.

Not that I plan on chasing any rattlesnakes, thankyouverymuch. I promise to stay away from them if they stay away from me.

*whew. I think that I'm looking forward to the mountains!

Friday, April 24, 2009

There's a new Sheriff in town

Fi here again. Actually, I think I've convinced Mom that this will be my blog. Or mostly my blog. She'll get to post occasionally, but I think I'm going spruce things up a bit. The car picture is cool - I was actually THERE - but it would be a lot cooler if there was a dog head hanging out the window. Except that in racing, you have to wear a helmet and a seatbelt. Mom says I have a seatbelt that I inherited from my older brother Ben, and should fit me fine, as he was a standard poodle; I've got the same deep chest, although I bet my shoulders are broader. I just don't know about the helmet thing. I don't want my ears to get scrunched.

But I'm going to make this a little more dog-oriented. Because, frankly, if Mom were to answer honestly, us kids are the center of her and Dad's universe. So, shouldn't the blog reflect reality?

Yep, I thought so, too.

Especially since I've got some Big Trauma coming up in my life. Mom and Dad have been talking about "moving". Moving? Just when I have gotten used to Arizona; the sun, the water, the little terrier across the road, the burro at the groomers (well, the burro isn't there anymore - she got a forever home a while ago, but she was there once, and I thought she could have been my BFF if I had gotten more time to know her; I mean, TaiChi is my real BFF, but she's my big-little sister, so that's different).

But this moving thing? We're going back to Utah. I only kind of sort of remember Utah, and have no idea what this House Without Wheels thing is. I vaguely remember some cold white stuff, but that's about all I remember of Utah...

Can you BELIEVE that that is me?!? I was such a little puffball! And LITTLE. Wow. Was I EVER that small? I can't believe it!

Mom says that there isn't any of that white stuff there now; we might get a little bit, but nothing that I'll really be able to play in. In fact, she's more worried about the fact that the stuff is all melting (I guess there was a TON in Utah), and the yard will be all muddy, and with my big feet, I'll get everything all muddy. Apparently, we'll be in a House That Doesn't Move. Can you imagine? How can you have a house that doesn't have wheels. I'm so confused. (And what's wrong with mud? I'm not sure I know exactly what mud is, but it's probably like sand, and that is great, because it gets between your toes, which is really fun, especially since it needs to be licked away, later.)

I really have no idea what she's talking about. First. What is this 'yard' thing?

Apparently this is the 'porch' that leads to the 'yard'. And the white stuff.

And this is me in the kitchen.

Kitchen?!? I don't even remember this!

Let's face it; I've spent most of my life in the motorhome. 42 feet from nose to tail, and about 14 feet wide when it is all wide (it scrunches in to be like 8 feet or so), with the StudioLivingRoomDiningRoomKitchen in the first part, then there is a door that opens onto the Cat's Lair. There's also this thing that has a door and clear windows, and a thing that sprays water. Mom and Dad always seem to smell better when they get out of the thing. Under the counter is a big space where the cat gets his food and water delivered to him. Outside of the spraying thing is the cat's box (where, occasionally I can find tasty morsels - although Mom and Dad seem to disapprove of this source of treats). There's a little room off to the side whose door is always closed, and leads to a room into which I have never been. Apparently I wouldn't fit.

Then there's the bedroom. And that's it. And it works just fine for me.

So I don't see the point of going to some 'house-without-wheels' that has a whole bunch of other rooms. Who needs 'em?

Guess I'll find out. In the meantime, Mom is starting to put things 'away'. I have to make sure that she doesn't put anything of mine anyplace where she can't find it instantly. Because how could I deal with that?

The one thing I do know? I like riding in the House on Wheels when it is moving. There are so many exciting things to do; I can sit on the couch and look out the window at all of the things to go by, or I can sleep on the floor right next to Dad when he's driving. Or if someone is taking a nap on the couch, I can take a nap with them. I can sit in Mom's lap. Although come to think of that, when we drove down here - right after those pictures with the white stuff were taken - I was a little bit smaller than I am now. But I bet I can still sit in Mom's lap if she gives me room. And I can try to walk while we are moving, and eat, and drink. And I get to bark at things. Ohboyohboyohboy this will be fun!

I love going for rides in the House With Wheels! I'm so excited!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm ba-ack!!!

Fi here again.

Mom’s still doing that silly stitching thing. The only use I can possibly see for stitching is to fix my toys that occasionally need a little surgery. Take, for instance, my platypus. One of my favorite toys ever. Which means that I’ve had him for 6 months, and I still play with him. Best. Toy. Ever. Except for possibly the Treat Filled Ball. But that is in a different category. Mr. Platypus is the king of the stuffie category.

Here’s Mr. Platypus, sitting on top of the toy box, ready to be retrieved (little joke there – I’m half retriever and half poodle *woof*):

He’s really cool, but a little fragile. Mom has had to sew him up a couple of times:

So I can see how using a needle and thread for Important Surgery is a Good Thing. But lots of different colors on a piece of cloth with holes in it? Don’t get it.

Anyway, my last post was all about my family. Because I’m generous that way. Today is all about Me. MEEEE! But not my life history; that is long and complicated, and involves a Very Long Drive for a car race when I was Really Young, and explains why I have no fear of diesel trucks, or race cars, and why the rumble of a good Corvette or Mustang is music to my ears. Don’t ask me why I don’t like the sound of airplanes. I couldn’t tell you that one. But that is for another day.

Fiona’s Day by Fiona Dranow

5:48am: My older (but littler) sister TaiChi has to go piddle. She’s very old (and yes, Mango, she does have magical powers – I have seen her stare at a drawer until she is able to summon treats from it – VERY impressive; apparently rubbing her belly also has healing powers, but you’d have to talk to Mom about that). And since TaiChi goes out, I get to go out too. Mom grumbles a bit, but then she sometimes doesn’t appreciate pre-dawn walks. The picture is fuzzy because Mom was too tired to ‘futz’ – her word, not mine – with the camera.

6:17-9:30am: Sleeping, walking on Mom and Dad, waiting for TaiChi to demand that she get to go outside again. Did I mention that this venerable dog has magical powers? She can make Mom do just about anything. I need to learn her secrets.

10:00-whenever: Power resting. I usually start off on the couch while Mom ‘works’ at the computer.

Then I wander over and join TaiChi. Because she really is the best sleeping partner ever.

When Dad gets up and finishes his work (I think he works harder than Mom, because he talks a lot on the black chew toy that has buttons and makes alerting noises; he just doesn’t seem to appreciate its full value as a chew toy – even though I’ve shown him how those antennae nubs can be quite tasty. Have to get a picture of that!) I like to sit on the couch with him and give him kisses.

He tastes best right after a shower!

Then Mom will take me outside to play. I know they have video of me chasing one of my squeaky balls, but I can’t find it. So trust me on this one. Although her is a picture of me in my younger days investigating the Colorado River. I’m still not sure what is so exciting about this swimming thing, but my Mom keeps telling me that that is my poodle side talking. I have no idea what she’s talking about.

The rest of the day is spent playing, and when it’s not too hot, going on a walk.

Me on a walk, waiting for Mom to break out the water bottle. This seems to be the pretty scenery that Mom talks about. Me? I'm more interested in the lizards and rabbits that pop in and out of the bushes!

Me with another chew toy. I’ve got lots of toys!

But the best part of the day? DINNER TIME!!!!

Here I am, sitting patiently, waiting for Mom to dish out the food.

(C’mon Mom, HURRY UP ALREADY! I’ve been patient ENOUGH. For Long Enough. Sheesh.)

Drumroll, please….. The Great Moment Arrives!


And then it’s back to the grind of playing with toys, napping, and if I’m REALLY lucky, Mom will give me ice cubes. I LOVE ice cubes. They are so cold and portable, and help Mom with mopping the kitchen.

See, now rather than dragging out the bucket, she just needs to get out the mop. I am SOOOO helpful.

Then it is bedtime and back to dragging Mom outside for more late night walks. I still don’t see what’s she’s complaining about. Even she had to admit that the stars were REALLY PRETTY at 3am this morning.

More from me later, because I’ve ‘borrowed’ Dad’s computer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fiona here

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Fiona here, because Mom NEVER updates. Sheesh, her birthday was 8 days ago, and she’s still going on about her ‘pre-birthday’?!? Clearly somebody has to step in and do something around here.

First, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of other four-legged people such as myself who have their own blogs, and I’m thinking that I might want to take this one over (or start my own), so you don’t have to read about needlepoint all the time. The only thing exciting about needlepoint is attempting to sneak in a chew on the wooden frame (Mom always stops me, though). The rest of it? Bleah. Maybe if I had opposable thumbs it would be more interesting, but I wouldn’t count on it (or me getting opposable thumbs, for that matter).

I don’t think Mom has ever done a proper job of introducing the family, so I’ll do it.

First is Mr. Bufus, The Cat.

You’ll notice that Bufus has one of my chew treats. Pretty funny because He Doesn’t Have Any Teeth!!! But, Bufus rules the house. Whatever wants, Bufus gets. He’s a 19 year old Maine Coon cat, and frankly, he scares me a little bit. He lets me know when I get too close, but he’s got no problem eating my food, and drinking my water. And yet Mom gets mad when I eat his food. What’s up with that?!?

I just pretty much call him Mr. Bufus, Sir, and get out of his way. Although I DID manage to steal the treat back, finally. After Bufus had licked it for a while….

This is my Big Sister, TaiChi.

(Here’s a better shot – she’s the one on top!)

She’s an old lady – more than 17 years old – which, is, well, older than dirt! She likes to sleep a lot, but occasionally I can get her to play with me. I just have to be careful because she’s got snaggly teeth, and she plays to win! I am still learning how to play with her, though, she’s not very big (18 lbs) and sometimes, all in good fun, I get a little rough with her, and then Mom yells at me to stop. Mom is pretty protective of TaiChi. Mom also will then suggest that they get a Jack Russell Terrier to keep me in my place. No thank you! I like my place just fine as it is! I think they’re kidding.

But she’s a great sleeping partner.

Mom and Dad



Apparently, they were off doing something silly in the Arizona desert on two wheels. When they could have been playing with ME instead! *ahem. Apparently, Dad hasn’t been feeling well for a while, so they haven’t been doing the two-wheeled thingy for a while.

Dad has been sleeping a lot, which is okay, because I always like sleeping partners:

I think that is actually Mom buried under there, but hey, I was comfortable, and that’s all that matters, right?!?

Here I am with Dad:

Notice that Mr. Bufus (sir) is there, too, but I’m plenty far away from him!

So, that’s us. Right now, we are living in a motorhome, because Mom and Dad didn’t want to deal with snow this winter.

But apparently we’ll be leaving soon, as it is getting HOT down here, and Dad wants to get his back sorted out, so he and Mom can get back to that two-wheeled nonsense. Why should they do anything on two wheels when they can play with Meeee?!?

I’m younger there, but you have to admit, I’m pretty darn cute!

So, that’s us. And I’m pooped. All this typing without opposable thumbs is hard work! I think I need a nap.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pre-Birthday Birthday Post

38. Thirty-eight. 38, 37, 39, 43; whatever. Trite as it is, age is just a number. My husband, who just recently turned 55 looks like he’s in his mid-40s. If that. It’s disgusting, actually – and genetic; his 83 year old mother looks better than many women in their 60s. And actually, because people typically think that he is younger than he is, they seem to think that I’m older than I am; maybe because a 17 year age gap is unusual. Is it? No idea. Or maybe I just look older than I am. And while I’ve got a few laugh lines, I’ve got no issues with them. And I don’t think that I look a whole lot older than I am. But who’s to say? I mean, what does 38 look like? Can you tell me? I can tell you about 15 different examples just from people I know – all of whom are totally different.

Anyhoo. I don’t really believe in ‘birthdays’ anyway – a birthday – a marking of a passage of a person’s life – can happen whenever; in years where you learn a lot, you might have a few birthdays. In years where things just remain the same, you might not have a birthday, in the personal growth sense of things.

This year? A definite birthday. This last year had a lot of ups and downs, with a lot of challenges, and a lot of great experiences. I am one hell of a different person than I was a year ago today.

And very glad for it. I could throw around a lot of clichés – “That which does not kill us makes us strong”; “Every challenge brings a new opportunity”; “Life is a process”; etc., etc. All I can say is that I am a better person than I was a year ago. And stronger (it’s that Jesuit thing…. St. Augustine was on to something there…). And so yes, this is a birthday. And one that will be celebrated for the fact that I am so much more than I was a year ago.

Okay, so that is all cryptic and esoteric. Aren’t all ‘deep thoughts’? *grin. Seriously though, I’m thrilled to be who I am, and feel luckier than hell that I am who I am.

Am I going to celebrate wildly? Eh, other than maybe buying a bottle of 18 year old scotch (Gary and I have been talking about doing the Boston Legal thing where William Shatner and James Spader sit on the balcony at the end of the episode and have a scotch and discuss the universe – we’ll have everything except the view of Boston – we’ll have the Colorado River sunset instead ), some crab legs for dinner, and a couple of pieces of cake for dessert, I am anticipating a very quiet day. (The weather is supposed to be windy and wet in the morning, which will make it perfect for cross-stitching and watching Fiona bounce off the couch while we watch the Masters.) Quiet is good. I’ve had my learning experiences for the year and am very happy to celebrate them with a quiet day.

It’s funny. After 18+ years of skiing on my birthday, I am SO looking forward to spending my birthday (although because of the weather, it will be the day after) in 85 degree weather, on a bike ride, or kayaking on the Colorado River. I’m STILL not missing the snow, kids!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Does 'Crafty' Imply Shifty Eyes?

Okay, so maybe this is a cross-stitch blog. At times. I am maybe 1/8th of the way through the Gypsy Wagon pattern that I have started. And while I have had a few minor mistakes (a few dropped stitches, but… as I am learning, the more complicated things are, the more places there are to fix mistakes – if you are paying attention, and the pattern has enough intricate parts that can be shuffled around), I am actually quite pleased with my progress so far. And proud of myself; I was wondering if I was going to have attention span issues, but since the thing is so intricate, and fun (I couldn’t tell from the pattern that I was stitching one of many snails, and I am able to make out the hedgehogs, even though I’m nowhere close to doing the backstitching), I am having a ball.

I’m not a crafty person (well, in the sense of scrapbooks, and memory books and things; actually, not really in the “skillful in underhand or evil schemes” definition (as given by Webster’s), either). My mother tried to teach me to knit a few times, and it never stuck. Crocheting? Even less so, although my grandmother was a whiz. Scrapbooks? I can put up an album on Facebook or Picasa. That’s about it. My first memory of cross-stitching was for a Girl Scout merit badge; we had this Girl Scout emblem pattern, and I did the thing in reverse colors (the green was white, and the white was green – oh yes, I was quite the rebel). In truth, I don’t remember if that was because I had mis-read the pattern and didn’t want to start over, or if I wanted to be different from the 13 other girls doing the exact same pattern. And at the time, if I recall correctly (Mom, help me out here), I don’t exactly remember enjoying it. It was sort of one of those things that I had to do to get the merit badge.

But my mother kept encouraging me, and I remember summers where I cross-stitched a circa 1890’s Colt .45 (really – it was this whole ‘old west’ pattern book – wish I could find it now!), and when I first started college, I did a 1980-something Corvette (alas, that one got lost when I moved to Park City). I had a few additional tries at some stitching once in Park City, but I typically got bogged down with work or other stuff.

This winter, however, I’ve had the time, and for whatever reason, the inclination. And I’m LOVING it. Some of it is certainly the enjoyment of actually producing something (I’ve been doing research on a book for ages, and while I write sections here and there, I’m not even remotely close to even having a good solid outline of the entire book). It’s also a tactile thing – the thread moving through the material is cool (the pulling out knots part, and occasionally stabbing myself because I don’t use blunt needles is not so cool, but still tactile). But I guess the part I like most is seeing something emerge out of chaos. Especially on a pattern like the one I’m doing now that has so many colors and sections that it is really hard to get a sense of what this thing is going to look like until you’ve gone so far. Again, I’m maybe 1/8th of the way done, and I’m only just now seeing the Big Picture emerge out of the dots, z’s and triangles on the pattern. But it is really cool to start to see it emerge.

The funny thing is that I still have No Idea what I’m going to do with my ‘finished’ pieces. And I say finished in quotes because I’ve got about 6 pieces that are fully stitched, but haven’t been ironed or framed or anything. Most, I expect, will end up as gifts (so if you get something from me, don’t be surprised if it is on 14 count Aida) as I can’t really see framing these things and having them all over the house. I have a REALLY COOL Noah’s Ark (it’s actually a submarine) pattern that I could see as a baby gift, as long as said baby is about 4 years out, or you don’t mind it being a college graduation present, rather than nursery room decoration!

I am framing one piece tomorrow, as a thank you to some friends of ours who provided much help with Mr. Bufus the cat this winter – both in terms of providing a cat carrier, corn syrup, morale support, and just being generally cool people – and we’ll see how that goes. If all goes well, I think I’ve got presents for people sewn up *heh…. Sorry….couldn’t help myself there! for quite a while.

And if you’ve got requests? Like if you are looking for something for a church fundraiser, or a gift for someone, or, oh hell, I don’t know…. If you want something, let me know. Your requests will be more likely honored if they fit in the animal (particularly dogs, cats, and Arks)/whimsical female/space/”I don’t care how long it takes, but something big with lots of stuff in it” categories.

And on that note? I’m going to eat and get back to my gypsy wagon. Because I’ve almost reached the magical fire. And a magical gypsy fire is NOT to be missed out on.

BTW, Mom, thanks for forcing me to do the Girl Scout cross stitch thing. The more I think about it, the more I think it was on the level of learning my multiplication tables. And while I can still guess at 9 X 6 (54? 57? 63?), I am getting MUCH enjoyment and fulfillment out of the cross stitching! Who'd've thunk it, eh?