Why sleep of course! And it’s always better with friends.
Last night Bob and I went on a date to Costco. Dinner is cheap–we spent $5.35 on dinner for two. But the shopping is expensive. We always find something extravagent that is a must have item. Last night it was toys for the dogs. Justification 00 the puppy needs lots of chew toys which is true. But we could make them for a lot less. But hey, it’s a puppy and she deserves a new toy or two. Elly agrees she too needs some new toys.
So last night we gave both dogs one of there fake plastic bones. Elly promptly took her bone and stashed it somewhere in the house. Then she came back to the kitchen and took away Bridget’s bone. By this point in the evening, Bridget was too tired to protest. So she lay next to Elly waiting for the right moment to steal back her bone. Very cute to watch.
For the last few days, I have been working the worlds worst shift — 11 pm to 7 am. Why–because the job needs to be done and I didn’t duck fast enough. Tedious work, auditing computer systems for security protocols– did they set up the user accounts correctly, are the routers turned on , and other fascinating questions to be answered. Anyway I get home about 8 am, a tired exhausted wretch. Have breakfast and go to bed. Sleep all day, get up have dinner and go to work. I feel empathy for those who have to work different shifts on a regular basis, it’s hard.
But cats love this schedule. Someone to sleep with 24 hours a day. And they do sleep most of that time. We have three cats. You only hear about two of them, because the oldest cat, Sally, lives in a laundry basket. It has an electric blanket that she adores. Since it has an 8 hour switch, we are constantly flipping the switch on for her. Constant refrain is “did you turn on the cat?” Even today, she spent the day in her laundry basket instead of the bead. She spends about an hour on a nice sunny day outside, and then it’s back to bed for her.
Now Sophie and Charlie are more than willing to sleep with me on the bed. Charlie however has limits to the amount he can sleep, waking me up about 1 pm to let him out of the bedroom. Charlie has a routine, he needs to patrol the yard and make sure all is well in his territory. He also loves to go play outside with Elly, follow Bob around as he does chores and generally has an active social life in the neighborhood.
Sophie is a trooper, sleeping under the covers with me all day long. While I’m at work, she splits her night between Kate and Bob. Guess she’s an old lady. But more than anything,, she is a Dagon cat. She defends her right to sleep on the bed with any and all humans. I’m the top priority. If I’m around. She’s next to me. And woe betide any cat or dog that tries to approach. That cat can bevicious. Even the puppy is painfully learning this fact. And when there are no humans, she curls up with Charlie the cat.
Dog beds are very important in our pets lives. Having a dog bed is status, even or the cats. And so we have lots of these big giant pillows around the house. A couple weeks ago Bob and I had a COSTCO date primarily so we could acquire a couple new beds. One for Charlie the cat and One for Elly. Of ourselves, the cheap dinner helps. We spent $5.35 on dinner for two. Good tasting food and a great price. Not healthy. But that’s beside the point, we got two new beds. At the dinner table the little kid at the next table was so impressed with our beds. He wanted to try them.
Charlie always has first pick of the Ed. Elly get’s what is left. And the older bed got moved into the kitchen. Bridget the puppy is so excited by her change in status. Everyone sleeps on the bed in the kitchen. And like a puppy, she had to try peeing on the bed. Wonder what they are thinks when that happens? I’m sure the result is not what they planned because my reaction is to drag the bed outside, hose it down, wash the cover, and let it dry for a couple of days. No dog bed for the puppy. Back to. Small blanket on the floor.
Yesterday, Molly the dog came to visit. Katie occasionally gets a dog sitting job for a young (6 month) old golden retriever. Big, beautiful, clumsy, and highly active puppy who loves to play. Elly is not impressed, two puppies is too much for her. They tumble and wrestle through the kitchen, the living room, and and any other space possible. The noises from their roughhousing are truly frightening. GRRRRRR. YIP. SQUEAK. GRRRRRRR. Lots of teeth showing.
The cats were not too happy. We did the nightly cat treat ritual; Sally refused to come into the kitchen. So. I let her eat in the bathroom. Wise decision becaus the dogs managed to bust open the kitchen screen door and chase off the cats. Out went the dogs and the cats emergency rations — cut up pieces of ham.
Order between the dogs is restored when one dog sits on another. It’s impossible to get a picture of Bridget on top, she moves so much. But Bob did get great one where Molly is siting on Bridget. And occasionally we try to tone down the noise by doing sit / stay lessons. By the end of the evening, The number of periodic time outs (separation of dogs into different spaces) increased as the day went on. Those three dogs got into that state of frenetic exhaustion. We’ve all seen it with kids-frantic, loud, raucous behavior in a mad attempt to stave off sleep. Beyond reason, they truly are mad animals at that point.
At that point, Katie took Molly home. Evidently once she got in the car, the dog fell instantly asleep. Bridget did the same on the kitchen floor. And Elly just disappeared, I’m assuming to sleep. Bob and I were noticing there seems to be a correlation between rainy days and Kate’s dog sitting jobs. I wonder why?
Charlie is not too sure about this pup. OK, there are more snacks and treats available. Plus late night potty breaks offer extra opportunities for escaping the house and playing outside all night. But she doesn’t understand how cats like to play. He’s ok with a good game of chase. But it should not end with the puppy on top of him licking no cleaning his face. Charlie will take care of his own cleaning–thank you very much. He doesn’t need any stinking puppy breath in his face.
And sometimes a cat just needs to sleep. Especially on a cold morning where there is a warm bed and sunshine to enjoy. Nothing like a great morning nap after a wild night outside.
Three of the most important commands are COME, then SIT, then STAY. If done correctly , one can get the resulting photo of two dogs waiting for a snack. But unfortunately that result is not common enough. It takes a lot of work and constant bribes to train up a dog.
I remember when Katie was an infant. Her grandmother got a puppy when she was two weeks old. I remember going with her and Maggie to pick up Bridget number 1. And we worked hard at the commands of sit and stay. Katie grew up with the puppy. We all have fond memories of her walking around the yard at Grandma’s house holding a cookie above her head. That was the only way she could eep the dog from eating it.
By the time Kate a year old, she had those commands down solid. Coming out of a grocery store, I would place Kate at the curb an say “SIT” and “STAY”. It was wonderful, the kid was safe while I put groceries in the car. Other people were not so impressed. I remember one woman telling me very indignantly “That is a baby, not a dog. You should be ashamed of yourself”. Wish I had been quick enough to reply “Really, that’s a baby? I was ripped off, the breeder told me it was a golden hair pup.”
Well Sophia is not happy with all the attention given to that puppy. And she likes being the center of attention. So much so, she I suggesting a boycott of puppy photos, puppy stories, and the like. Instead, these blogs should be about her and only her. She may have small paws, but she has a big presence. Go Sophia!!!!
We have had a lot of rain this year. Hurrah!!!!! We need it after 6 years of drought. Only problem is that we have no rain gutters. And if we get too much rain without diverting it from the house, it gets wet underneath the house. Easy, cheap quick fix — blue tarps along the edge of the house. Longer term fix — install the rain gutters and possibly a French drain. During the rain storms, we’ve gone with the cheap easy option.
Now these tarps are fun for the puppy when wet. She considers them to be a doggie slip and slid. Race along, halt suddenly, and slide along the sidewalk. Might slide though a puddle or two, that only adds to the fun. While we may care about a wet muddy puppy, she doesn’t. Besides getting dried off with a towel is fun.
In our house there s a tradition of feeding the cats special food at night. An end of the day ritual, this event begins with the cry “All right, Sally, Sophie, Charlie”. At the first word “All” chaos explodes in the house. Charlie starts running around with an up tail, crying and rubbing against my leg. Sophie waunders around and Sally begins sauntering out at a measured pace. The Dogs have a role in this ritual. Both need to go outside while the cats get their food. And they wait.
Most nights, all three cats eat rapidly. First one done often goes to help the next one finish. Last night that was Sophie helping Sally. Since Sally didn’t appreciate the help, there was a small altercation. The dogs waiting eagerly outside hear the noise and they begin whining. “Can’t we come in now?”
Eventually the time arrives, dogs get their chance to lick the plates. Bridget is so excited she can’t figure out where to start. So she races in circles, putting her feet on all the plates. All cats scatter, leaving the plates to the dogs.
Our dogs love to visit Gmom Lewis. Not only is she happiness and pets personified, she’s the source of all good treats. What that means is that the dogs are slavishly devoted to her, spending every second by her side. Or at least every second when they want to lounge. Both dogs are always on their best behavior for Gmom Lewis.
So yesterday we had cultural enrichment day! In other words we joined the rest of the world in watching the Super Bowl. Bridget enjoyed the puppy bowl. I swear she was watching the puppies play on TV. Liz claimed that Roman, her Cat, enjoyed the Kitty Gaga Half-time Show. So perhaps those animals were recognizing themselves on TV. But by the time the actual Super Bowl arrived, our dogs were exhausted and had to sleep.
Several people have asked “How are Elly and Bridget doing together”. They disagree about food. Elly just doesn’t understand why Bridget eats longer than her at breakfast and dinner. She doesn’t understand lunch after all she doesn’t get lunch. But sometimes they do get along. Bob got this great shot of the two of them sleeping together. It lasted for a few moments until Bridget got bored and started to chew on Elly.
Two beautiful young ladies together. It’s a lovely site in the morning. That puppy loves to be held at all times. Wonder how long it will take until she’s too big to held? That dog is already twice the size in just a couple of weeks. She’s eating more than Elly and is always hungry. But that’s good for us, we can train her to come for food.
The puppy, Bridget, is doing well on potty training. Well doing OK as long as we watch her continuously. If someone slips up on guard duty, then puddles appear on the floor. Not good, no one wants puddles on the floor. So Last night a puddle appeared on the floor. Not my responsibility or problem even though it was geogaphically close to me. There’s no way I could have been responsible for missing a puppy accident. OK, maybe I could have Paid closer attention, but that’s not the point of this story.
Back to the puddle. Standard protocol upon finding a puddle is to use the mop, infused with a mild bleach solution to clean up the problem. And Bob, being the wonderful man he is, went to do that even though the puddle was geographically close to my chair. Bridget had other ideas, she though the mom was a wonderful toy, even with a bleach flavor. Yuck. Sounds like a terrible taste. But it is a funny picture. Unfortunately that dog wiggles, so getting action shots is difficult. Here’s the best of her eating a bleach infused mop strand. Enjoy.
Happy Birthday Dad. May you have a wonderful day. Was there to celebrate with you. But that will have to wait until March when we will do a silly formulaic birthday party for everyone–complete with cake, balloons and too many candles. Instead, here are a few old photos for you to enjoy. You were one handsome dude.
What a great sound to hear in the morning. Two dogs wrestling for a toy. They growl, shake, pull, and generally leave chaos behind them. The puppy wins or did Elly let her win? And she retreats to the top of the toy heap. Elly gives a look of disgust as she walks over to the gate. You can almost hear her thinking “Get Mee out of Here!” “I’m sick of babysitting”.
See that little teddy bear. Not much to look at, but the favored dog toy. All dogs–Elly, Bridget plus visiting dogs like Molly, Rupert, or Hulk–all want that little teddy bear. It was the comfort toy for Bridget on her first night in the new home. It worked, that with all the dogs meant she felt at home. She loves that toy, carrying it around in her mouth and shaking it vigorously. Elly takes it from her on a regular basis. Luckily it was well designed with heavy rope inside. So it may just last for a few weeks before getting destroyed.
New bed for bridget–this one she may not be able to chew into small pieces. Basically it is an old rug that I made years ago. Folded into small pieces, it becomes a soft and warm place to sleep. Bridget loves it. I’m glad to see it used. As my first test rug, it was pretty ugly. Here she is with her toys.
Last year I made Elly a toy we call the 4 armed octopus. An old blanket, some furry fabric, and lots of rope was all that was required. This toy is a favorite of all dogs–including Bridget. And because it is so desirable, there are many games of tug of war as well as dogs sleeping on it. Many good photos and even a painting.
So the puppy is still small enough to sleep in a lap. She’s adorable when sleeping. When awake, she’s all teeth and as lively as can be. So we enjoy those few brief moments where she is as limp as a rag doll.
But eventually she will want to move into our room. However, we will need another dog bed. The two we have are already claimed.
Bridget quickly settled into our house. She loves the game of tug.
here Bridget is learning how to use a large kong food toy. She gets so mad and the toy is so big. Bridget leaps at the food toy, knocking it over while making little noises of frustration. Then Elly walks over, puts her paw on the top, starts rocking it and in an instant, empties all the food out a small hole.
We have to get up in the middle of the night for the puppy. She’s not yet big enough to make it through the night without going potty. Kates been good about sharing the night duties. Of course, that makes her very sleepy the next day.
Kate plans to move back home sometime in August. Money, school, the usual litany of reasons–it’s good. She can concentrate on her school and we save 15,000 dollars per year on living expenses. Hurrah! To ease the transition of being an adult at home, Kate was told she could remodel the two “kids” rooms into whatever would work for her. Out with the old became the new mantra.
First thing that went was all the furniture and stuff from her sisters’ bedroom. I came home last week to bunkbeds in pieces in my living room. Clearly they needed a new home. Luckily the old chant “free plus delivery worked”. My notice in the coffee room at work found a taker. A good friend wanted everything–the beds, the mattresses, and even the sheets. Her son had been sleeping on a trampoline for the last few years. When it started, it was supposed to be temporary. She had moved into the a new house, and money was tight. So the trampoline was set up in his room as a temporary measure. And the boy loved it. He could jump on this 8 foot wide trampoline before going to bed. Well a few years later, the boy is still sleeping on the trampoline. Now he is 15 and when he stands on the trampoline his head brushes the ceiling. And when his friends come over to spend the night, they are sleeping on a a hard wooden floor. The beds went to a good home, one young man is delighted to have real beds.
So now for the new. Over the last week, Kate has painted the room and put in a new laminate wood floor. And the room is shaping into a lovely space. Here’s Kate after a hard days work. Now Bob helped just a little bit. He did perhaps 80% of the work, but we don’t talk about that. Instead notice that Elly seems to approve of Kate’s efforts.
Charlie has been a busy cat. Early mornings are fantastic for him. He has learned how to catch humming birds, something that drives me crazy. I love those little birds, zipping all over the place. After 4 in one week, two in one morning, Charlie got banned from going outside in the early morning. He hates the new rules, inside until 8 am when it is too hot to go hunting. 8 aM is perfect time for bigging the beginning daily snooze on a day with high temperatures and high humidity.
And then in the evenings he becomes lively again. One of his favorite tricks is escaping outside after dinner. If he gets out, then he waits our of reach for the cry “Sally, Sophie, Charrrrlieeeeeeee. Dinner Time”. Then everyone races to the kitchen for a second round of dinner.
Here’s how Charlie looks when he realizes that he is being trapped, yes cruelly trapped inside, while the birds are waiting for him outside.
So I brought back some boards from Brindejon. Pretty pieces of wood suitable for either a cutting board or drawing board (for my art). Up north, there is a board called blue pine which has the most incredible lines. Found a couple pieces in the scarp bin of a sawmill my dad showed me. It was a great place, the one shown in the movie “A Chriistmas Story” produced by the Hallmark channel. My mom says these lines are caused by a fungus in the wood. Whatever, the lines and colors are gorgeous. So I took the boards, sanded and stained them, creating gorgeous pieces of artwork in the boards themselves. My artist friends now want boards for themselves.
Both Bob and I have been busy with woodworking proects. We get raw materials from Brindejon and then spend many happy hours working at home. Bob has been working on a table for months. We started it last October.
Well, more accurately, Bob and my dad started it. I provide the moral support. We took some logs back from our last trip and Bob made legs. The table is fantastic, I love how it looks. Bob thinks it still needs more work.
Got a great picture from Brindejon of the kids racing around on the mule. Lots of fun and as always, accompanied by Dogs. Now Elly is a city dog and she knows that you always ride in the vehicles, you don’t run beside it. And you sit in the front seat if at all possible. Bella on the other hand is a farm dog and she knows that it’s more fun to run alongside or ahead of the mule. Both dogs got just what they wanted.
So Kate has spent the summer on vacation. First up at Brindejon and then going back east to visit Nate’s family. Sounds like a great trip, she’s been to Toronto, Niagra Falls, and Lake Huron. Plus a few other towns, but what I’ve been hearing about are the fun events. I’m jealous–I’ve visited Niagara Falls twice and have never seen them. Both time the weather was too bad…fog, ice, and more fog. But Kate, she saw them in all their glory and even got a good picture to prove it. She’s been tubing on River and gone out in a catamaran. Skipped the waterskiing, got intimidated by the excellent skills of everyone else. But her picture of Lake Huron is excellent, looks like a great summer day.
So Josh spent his birthday, home alone on the 4th of July working. Meanwhile Maggie was out west having a great vacation. But we did think about him and did get a present which hopefully gives both Josh and Maggie hours of fun. Fishing rods, including the ever popular “LadyFish” which is a hot pink rod. It has a bonus feature that turning the reel turns on bright pink and green lights. Lurid colors that shocked Josh. We know because Maggie sent a video with the infamous words “What the Fuck?”. Bob had so many laughs about this rod and reel. And he give Josh a starting kit which by tradition has to include at least one unusable old lure. We’ve heard the rods work, but the fisherman and fisherwoman need practice on convincing fish to bite.
The month of July has flown by, I don’t where the time went. Actually that is false. Went on Vacation at Brindejon. Had the girls around for another week. Went to work. Took Art Lessons. Taught several art classes at work. Played with the dog. Swore at the Cat, and in general have been very busy doing summer type things. And now I’m behind on many other things including this blog. But now I have lots of fun pictures to share. So this morning, I’m going to write a to of posts and set them up for one a day.
So today, we welcome a new family member. Liz got a cat named Roman. He looks really cute and playful. I think it’s time to paint “In The Sink 2”. Keep sending the pictures, perhaps you might get a painting or two in return.
Back at my parents farm for a long holiday weekend. It’s beautiful, the sweet peas and lupin are in bloom. Birds, dogs, and kids are all bursting with life. Elly and Bella are together as mush as possible, they are good friends. And I look forward to getting some good stories and pictures. But first some coffee.
I used to love smorgasbords. The possibilities are endless, too many foods to try. But the stomach and the eyes were always willing to try. Now that I am on a restricted low carb diet, they don’t have the same appear. I can’t eat half or most of the foods. I can’t even drink much beer. Luckily wine and whiskey are still on the approved list.
So today I finally got Bob’s Beer. Yes, BEER with capital letters. It’s been a process to retrieve. Multiple Cale’s to UPS, notices, missing signatures, and eventually a trip to the UPS warehouse. Sothis is special beer — a birthday present from his three daughters. Every month for the next six months, he gets a special delivery of 12 beers — 4 new types — every month. And since he’s gone on vacation, the text message said “I got your beers and drank them all. They were delicious. Sorry, should have saved one for you.”
It’s only fair, he abandoned me and left for a camping trip with Kate, Nate, and Crystal. I stay home, clean the kitchen, and feed the bluebirds. Yep, we have our second bluebird family for the season right outside in a great bluebird box. So earlier this spring, we had a bluebird couple that moved into the neighborhood and had a set of kids. 4 baby birds survived, there may have been a fifth that got caught by one of the cats. Or it was some other kind of bird. The babies grew up and the parents decided to have a second family. YEAH.
Now Bob is feeding these birds mealworms on a daily basis. And the male seems to know that hopping around on a branch in front of Bob means food. Then THE SHOW BEGINS. It’s fun to watch. All four babies, mom, and dad, are feeding the second set of kidlets. They all know that Tall Man means food, especially when he puts a new bowl on top of the bird box. The little birds cheep loudly “Me, ME, MEEEEEE!” I love watching them get food as the six other birds ferry food from the bowl to the hole in the box.
So what does feeding bluebirds have to do with cats you might ask? Well, those cats of mine are prodigious hunters and would love nothing more than catching a bluebird doing cleanup from an evening feed. Clean up is where the birds go down to the ground and pick up all those lovely dried mealworms dropped during the feeding frenzy. Charlie and Sophie have been having a great hunting season. Rats, gophers, mice, lizards and birds; they probably have changed the local ecosystem with their successful hunts. So we try to keep them inside while the blue birds are eating.
Speaking of hunting, Charlie sort of got a baby crow a few weeks ago. Bob went outside because he hard low cawing cawing cawing from the driveway. Went outside to see Charlie had caught a baby crow. And all the other crows came to help. Charlie was holding on to this crow while being pinned under a bush. Every time Charlie moved the other crows would dive bomb at him. Ouch. Charlie retreated, one hand hooked onto the baby crow. Bob came, rescued the baby, and brought an indignant Charlie inside. But at least he still had his hair. And every time Charlie went outside for the next few days, he got attacked by the elder crows protecting the baby. I am pleased to say the baby probably survived and has left the immediate area.
Well dishes await. Bob was not up to his usual standards of a home beautiful this morning when he left. Dishes in the sink — horrors. Floors needing to be swept — awful. Extra bags left in the hall — yuck. And even a birthday present for Josh on the counter that needs to be wrapped and sent off to him. So I guess I had better start the dishwasher before going to be.
Next week the extended family will be descending upon my parents at Brindejon, including Elly. ONe planned activities is swimming in the Yuba River, home of fantastic huge swimming holes. And of course, the youngest member of our family will be going along and swimming. Yep, Elly will be exposed to River swimming. And since she’s only 4, she needs a life vest. Did you know that such things exist, complete with handles on the back? I didn’t until recently. And new we are the proud owners of an extra large dog vest. Here’s Elly modeling her new outfit. I’m not sure how much she likes it, but she will tolerate it for a cookie.
ALE — Annualized Loss Expectancy
ALU — Arithmetic Logic Unit
ANN — Artificial Neural networks
What do those three words have to do with Charlie. Nothing. Except the fact I am trying to memorize 3 pages of those terms per day and Charlie is being his usual helpful self. It’s time to pick up my playtoys AKA ART SUPPLIES, very important stuff to be written about in capital letters. And Charlie has decided to take a nap in my bag. Even Mitzi’s nose doesn’t deter him from a nap. The only thing that makes him move is me getting another cup of coffe. And I need the coffee before I start working on the three pages of torturous words. What Charlie WANTS is his milk. Every morning there is milk for the cat, milk for the cat. A teaspoon of milk in a saucer.
Now the three pages of words are a small part of the 1500 terms I need to memorize by July 16th. If lucky, I’ll be spending that day taking a six hour multiple choice test. Sounds like fun–NOT. But needed for my job. The luck part comes from getting an unexpected opportunity to attend a boot camp class the week before. Sometime in the next few days, I’ll find out if management is willing to pay for the class. One of my weakest skills is the ability to memorize terminology and remember acronyms. After all that’s what books and the Internet are for–the ability to easily look that stuff up. But this test is call the mile wide, 6 inch deep overview of the cyber security world. And that CISSP certification is needed to provide that one is an expert. So I’m being proactive and started early on memorization.
So we have a new game around my house. Anyone who wants to play can. It’s easy. Pick up my big wad of terminology papers and start asking me for definitions. Then have fun watching me squirm as I stammer and don’t know them. Some are easy….Acount Lockout — I’ve done that before when I’ve forgotten my password. And then I had to track down the system administrator and beg them to unlock the computer account. But ALE. That’s hard. I want to say a very good beer. But it’s not. ALE is the annualized loss expectancy, the cost of loss due to risk over a year. And please don’t ask me about the differences between 802.11a 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.118, 802.11n, or 802.1x. ARGHHHHHH, can I just become a pirate instead of memorizing the different frequency modes? Going to work actually sounds like more fun than these words. Wish me luck.
Breakfast this morning matched the quality of Father’s Day this year. Last night, Bob cooked his own dinner because I was too hot to care about food. Today, I cooked him some really ugly oats. Inedible, I’ve been banned from the kitchen this morning and am being “forced” to go to work. Bob says it’s a better place for me. I don’t know, he probably could have picked off a few good bites of oats from the burned bottom of the pan.