Letting sleep(y) dogs lie

March 23, 2011 § 7 Comments

My home is incredibly quiet this morning. Except for the snoring of two sleep-deprived canines.

And the source of their sleep deprivation? Me.

You see, I stayed up until 2 a.m. this morning working on the finishing touches of my draft of Chapter Two (draft one, I should clarify). I woke up around 7:30 to Annie’s beckoning (she needed to potty, as puppies do), and sat down to do some quick proofreading (although I am confident I left some errors in the document…it’s fine, though–it’s just a draft), converted in-text citations to footnotes, and wrote a bibliography. And then…around 9:30, I e-mailed the draft off…and this is it in its current statistical form:

36 pages, over 10,000 words. The best part? Those 36 pages are really just the beginning. Those 36 pages are just to prove to my professor that I am going to make the kind of progress one needs to make in order to bang out a dissertation in time to graduate. I still have the depths of my argument to explore, which will probably take at least another 20-30 pages. Chapter Two is destined to be a long one, but why shouldn’t it be? It’s the foundation of my own argument.

Although I would love to say that my day’s plan is to just sit around and sleep, that is not the case. I have a great deal of grading left to do (most of my students’ papers). So, I’m going to work my way through those so that I can have those off my shoulders by tomorrow, return them in class, and then spend my entire weekend relaxing.

In the meantime, I’d like you to enjoy the view I’m enjoying this morning:

The saying may be “let sleeping dogs lie” (in other words “if there’s no problem rearing its head, leave it alone”)…but in my house, today the saying is “let sleepy dogs lie!”

When Nature and grad school collide

March 21, 2011 § 15 Comments

This morning, as I prepared to settle in for another day with Chapter Two, I noticed that the cats were glued to the back door, just staring out the window. As this is not particularly abnormal behavior for them, I ignored it and ate my breakfast. Until ten minutes later, they were still there…and both were looking in the same direction…obviously at something. Peeping through the closed blinds above their heads, I saw what they saw: a rather industrious and clever little male wren who discovered an unused, meant-to-have-been-thrown-away planter on a storage shelving unit. Of course, I grabbed my camera, videotaped the wren (and his mate who joins in at one point), and got to shooting.

This is the trailer for the forthcoming documentary that will detail the lives of the wrens as they build their home, lay their eggs, and raise their little family. (Of course, these are all hopes…I worry that we will frighten them because we will walk past their nest on a pretty regular basis, since that’s the door Annie goes out of to go potty. We might have to rework our habits. And, yes. I’m willing to rework habits for the sake of a little wren family.)


Domestic adventures, Hab. style!

March 16, 2011 § 8 Comments

This morning, Robert and I were enjoying a rare, slow-moving weekday morning together…when the giant (think: Sam’s Club) jar of salsa that Robert was putting into the fridge slipped from his hands and crashed onto the floor. The amazing part of it was that it landed on its bottom, which temporarily contained the salsa until I could get over to him and help him clean it up. Of course, as soon as we lifted the jar, the salsa poured out. My genius plan was to try to “catch” it into a paper towel as Robert lifted the jar…what I hadn’t thought about was that the bottom was utterly demolished, so scooping up the salsa would have required me to cut the crap out of my hand. I abandoned the plan immediately and watched while the salsa mountain grew in front of the fridge door.

We flew into action cleaning up and trying to watch where we stepped. Callie bounded past us, much to our displeasure, but we couldn’t really stop her because we didn’t want to cut ourselves up in the process. She made it to the bedroom, so we decided to deal with her once it was safe for us to move about freely. Robert, slightly further away from the slivers of glass than I was, grabbed the vacuum cleaner, and then I set to work.

I must have vacuumed for ten minutes, listening carefully for the gentle “clink, clink” sound of glass working its way through the hose into the bag. Then, I vacuumed again, satisfied with the lack of clinking. I caught Cal, and Robert examined her sweet little feet: glass-free! Brilliant Callie avoided all the teensy little shards that were literally everywhere.

Our day moved on as days do; Robert went on to work, and I met V at the coffee shop for another work session. We both arrived home in the afternoon, and we picked up the dogs from the boarders’ where they’ve been since Friday. I was grateful that the salsa jar accident happened while they were gone so that we could take care of all the glass without worrying about all four animals, especially one as curious as Annie.

Then, as I was cooking my dinner, I spun away from the stove and suddenly: OUCH!! I looked at the bottom of my foot and my fear was confirmed by the blossom of blood spreading slowly: I found another shard of glass that I missed while vacuuming. I hobbled around the house until I got my hands on my tweezers, and then I hobbled back to the living room where I plopped down on the couch and extracted the offending intruder. I’m now properly bandaged, and the little drips of blood that fell onto the floors at odd intervals have been cleaned up. I really hope that that was the last of the shards.

I did call my husband in between the pirouette of torture and the home extraction, and he immediately responded by getting into his maroon steed to come to my rescue. I wasn’t sure at the time if I could reach the glass; it was in an awkward location in my foot. But I decided I might as well try at least once, and that one little try worked like a charm. I called Robert back and sent him to return to the guys for the rest of their evening. Of course, I felt awful interrupting his fun with them like that, but he was more concerned that I did in fact get all of the glass out of my foot.

So, those were our domestic adventures today. I’m grateful I have the kind of husband who would drop what he was doing just to come home and dig out a little piece of glass from his wife’s foot. 🙂

Sometimes life just requires you to high-five a puppy

March 4, 2011 § 5 Comments

I’m dangerously close to missing my very first post for the Post a Day Challenge. But I won’t. Because it’s still 10:28 here in my neck of the woods. Boo-yah!

In a very short post, I shall demonstrate to you precisely why sometimes we have to high-five a puppy.

Take Annie, for instance.

Okay, that's just an expression. Please don't literally take Annie.

In only a few short days, Annie has learned how to shake and high five. Why is the latter particularly awesome?

Because sometimes, like after a day of amazing accomplishments…or a day of rest…., you just really have to high-five a puppy. She gets the best look on her face, too–ears go down and back, like she’s really concentrating, she pulls her head back so that she displays her double-chin, and then she just starts going for it. Sometimes, most times really, Annie does the high-five superbly well.

But on particularly wonderful occasions, Annie will give you the double-high five, placing both paws in your hand. I’m working on teaching her the word “dance” when she does this so that she and I can bust a move when I feel like a high-five won’t do.

In the meantime, high-five the nearest puppy to you. It will make your day so much better.

And on that note, I’m leaving this post behind and returning to the couch where I’m going to enjoy my alcohol-induced buzz. ‘Night y’all!

See? I knew I wasn’t crazy: or, why I love my vet

February 19, 2011 § 6 Comments

For the past few days (several?) Annie has been having some accidents in the house. They’re not big puddles. They’re not on anything of particular value to us (although…I’ll come back to this in a moment). They’re these little dribbly trails that indicate where she was walking (apparently in twisty patterns, as though she were lost). And, the most befuddling of all: she still rings her little jingle bell by the door to tell us when she has to go potty. Just sometimes we’ll walk into another room and find a dribbly trail.

Flashback to September.

Less than a couple of weeks after we brought her home, Annie developed a UTI–the dreaded urinary tract infection. We managed to catch her condition before red blood cells appeared on the scene, thank goodness. We had taken Annie for a routine puppy wellness check, and our vet (who we abso-stinking-lutely adore) asked us how potty training was going.

“Well…” Robert and I said simultaneously.
“We got her this bell to ring by the back door,” I said. “And it only took her five days to learn the bell. So generally we’re doing pretty well. But then….”
“Sometimes we’ll find these accidents in the house when she hasn’t rung the bell,” Robert finished.
Dr. Vet looked contemplative for a moment and asked, “Are they puddles?”
“No…” I said, suddenly feeling like we were uncovering a great Annie-sized mystery. “They’re more like little trails…like dribbles. It really looks to me like she might have started to pee before she realized she should ring the bell.”
Dr. Vet looked at her tech and said, “I think we’ll want to run a urine sample. It could very well be a urinary tract infection. Female puppies in particular are prone to them.”

Several minutes later, the urinalysis came back, white blood cell positive–an indicator for infection. She prescribed us two weeks’ worth of Clavamox, and Annie soon started to feel better and stopped dribbling on the carpet.

Flash forward to today.

This morning, I awoke to find a chewed-up trouser sock (one of Robert’s…sigh…) as well as little dribble trails of pee all around the front of our bedroom by the door. A couple of my sweaters that had been on the floor were in the line of fire as well. I woke Robert up immediately. “We have a problem!” I told him. And we set to work–he got out the Resolve to spray the carpet (we’ve already gone through an entire can in a few days, since this started), and I threw my sweaters into the wash and Robert’s sock into the trash.

After breakfast and another potty break, Robert and I attempted to make sense of what happened. We tossed around the obvious (maybe she’s pushing boundaries, maybe she’s not as potty trained as we had originally thought), but then we started to recall her last UTI. I called Dr. Vet and made an appointment to have her seen immediately. Of course, since she had already emptied her tank in our bedroom and the yard after breakfast, Annie wasn’t forthright with a urine sample at the veterinary office. But Dr. Vet didn’t even need one.

Dr. Vet asked me to explain what had happened (after all, she had just seen us a week ago for her second round of the flu vaccination), so I walked her through what we’ve been experiencing this week. “I don’t know, Dr. Vet. Do you think I’m overreacting? Is she just being defiant?”
Dr. Vet smiled and shook her head. “It doesn’t make sense for her to decide to sometimes ring the bell to go outside and sometimes not. When dogs are trained, they’re trained. She wouldn’t be making active decisions like that.”
“Yeah…it just doesn’t seem like she’s acting out. It’s not like she’s peeing on our bed,” I told her.

As I was talking, Dr. Vet knelt on the floor with Annie and loved on her (Annie so so loves her Dr. Vet love). Annie laid on the floor, showing her pink belly, happily snorting and spinning her little tail. And then Dr. Vet reached out and palpated Annie’s bladder. And Annie sprung up to her feet, pinned her ears back, and leaned against the wall. If she could have tucked her tail down, I’m sure she would have. Dr. Vet attempted once more to palpate her bladder. Annie cried and jerked away from the tech’s hold.

“Yeah,” Dr. Vet said soothingly to Annie. “That doesn’t feel good, does it, sweet thing? I’m sorry to hurt you…but you don’t want me to touch your bladder, huh?” Looking up at me, Dr. Vet smiled and said, “It’s okay she wouldn’t give us a urine sample. That reaction has confirmed it for me. Her bladder is painful, so I’m going to go ahead and prescribe her an antibiotic rather than keep putting her through a painful examination.”

I was so grateful to Dr. Vet for reassuring me that I was not overreacting, that I was not jumping at shadows. I am sorry that my poor little puppy girl isn’t feeling well, but I’m also glad that Dr. Vet has taught Robert and me the early early warning signs of a UTI that can help us get a diagnosis before the infection gets really painful.

So here’s to amazing vets everywhere who help loving pet owners take care of these precious animals. 🙂

How to make me smile…

February 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

Even on the most stressful days or weeks or years, there is still one single, absolutely best way to make me smile:

Showing me these faces!

To me, these are the four sweetest faces on the planet.

Leigh-Leigh and the Woogs--and no, the heating pad is not turned on. 😉

Not dead, just sleeping like it! 😉

The puppy-head herself! Annie-girl at her favorite window.

Look at how big she's grown!

How would you like seeing that sweetness in your library?

(I know, I know–this post is Annie-heavy, but I wanted you guys to see just how beautiful and big she’s gotten! 🙂 She’s now 9 months old as of yesterday [2/16] and weighs about 36 pounds.)

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