Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Five: The Way We Blogged

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Kathrynzj writes:

A friend and I were lamenting recently about the good ol' days of blogging and memes. Certainly there are still some very active blogs around our web ring, but the days of the Friday Five getting 50-70+ responses are in the past. We lamented that the Friday Five is the equivalent of the women's guild of RevGalBlogPals.

I am one of those who went from blogging just about daily to periodically at best. Unfortunately, the number I routinely read has gone down as well. What about you?

1) Have your blogging (writing/reading) habits shifted since the days of yore?

Most definitely. For a few years there, keeping up with Christian blogs was actually part of my job, so I had more time to check in on folks. I had a personal rule to never blog as DogBlogger during working hours, but it was my commenting voice both in RevGal circles and the Methoblogosphere, and there's plenty of overlap between the two.

A convergence of events led to my decreased blogging activity. Yes, that ubiquitous social networking site had something to do with it, but my job change and my move had a great effect upon what I choose to post. I moved from being just a fish in the big pond of my denomination to having a more public role in a smaller sub-section of that body of water. I curtailed my blogging as a direct result.

During my transition to this job and the move back to my home state, I even began a locked-down, password-protected blog which I shared with only a few trusted friends. It showed the worst and most stressed-out side of me. I used to share frustrations here in this space, but I'm hesitant to do so now. Google my real name, and this blog turns up as a search result. There are plenty of people out there who know my name, but who might not appreciate seeing me share in this context. Just last week, I was considering writing a post announcing that I wouldn't be posting here any longer... but, ironically, I never made the time to write it.

2) Do you have some favorites that you miss?

Oh, tons of them. Too many to name. Some of them still blog and I don't make time to read, and others haven't blogged in months, and I miss their voices.

3) Are there some blogs you still put in the 'must read' category?

I do try to read any RevGal's blog entry to which she links from Twitter or FB. But there's no guarantee I'll see all of those.

4) If we gathered at your knee, what would you tell us about those early days of blogging?

Oh, the wonder of the early days... I met friends online who, it turned out, lived within driving distance. I remember meeting up with Mary Beth one Saturday and taking dogs to a dog-related festival in her town. I remember discovering that Elastigirl was attending the same seminary as Mid-Life Rookie. I remember Zorra and I sharing our true identities as we bonded over the fact that our blog names were both dog-inspired... and I remember her praying over the phone with me when my sweet Cub girl died. And so many others, including those I met at BE 1.0 and 2.0, and the mini-meetup weekend several of us in the Dallas area hosted last spring. (In a particularly strange twist of that weekend, I remember receiving the world-changing phone call offering me my current job while I was standing in a cemetery with SpookyRach, Mindy, Sue, Jules, and others.)

5) Do you have a clip or a remembrance of a previous post of yours or someone else's that you remember, you know an oldie but goodie?

Again, as with question 2, too many to name... plus, I'm about to be late for work! 'Bye now...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Because it's been too long...

...and I have a little bit of time before I need to head to the office. Hence, the random post:

- Mama Bird is trying again, in the same nest. We are keeping a really close eye on the dogs when they are outside. We walk out there before we let them out, to check on bird status. Nobody seems to have hatched yet, so the dogs may get to stay out and enjoy some beautiful weather today.
- I have an early deadline because of Memorial Day. I finished yesterday, but didn't submit the files because they aren't due until this morning. Good thing I didn't -- the cover story changed again last night. Will make tweaks as soon as I get to the office, then submit the files.

- Somebody I know had a big, important ordainey-type thing last night! Congratulations! Wish I could've been there, but will be there for the one in December, I promise!
- Tried to buy locally-sourced and/or organic brisket and ribs last night, which resulted in a Locavore Fail. The Alpha plans to fire up the smoker on Saturday, but the brisket had to come from the big store that starts with a K and rhymes with ogre, because the city's slightly-too-small Whole Paycheck didn't have one, and neither did the "local" market (using quotes because it's across the river, and thus technically in another city--but it sells meat from nearby farms). Whole Paycheck will wind up getting our ribs business tonight, though.
- Bought some chicken hot tamales while at the "local" market, because why waste the trip?
- The area's big fest on the river is this weekend. I'm ambivalent about checking it out, but we probably will because I've never been. Also, we may get to do it for free in exchange for volunteering to help sell lemonade.
- Still feeling a bit rootless. Trying to remember how long I felt this way in Dallas. Three years, probably. Hope this phase doesn't last that long this time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The circle of life. I hates it.

My dog just killed somebody's baby.

We have been watching the robin who built a nest high above our backyard, in a crook of the rain gutter. We have watched her feed worms to her two babies. And yesterday after work, I saw her perched on a branch about 10 feet away, chirping, trying to convince them to fly.

This morning, I followed the usual routine, feeding both dogs their breakfast, then letting them go for a trip outside. I could see Angus takin' care of business, but Tuesday had gone around the corner. I stepped away from the window to pour myself some cereal. Angus asked to be let back in, and I obliged him, leaving the door open a crack to wait for Tuesday. That's when I heard the frantic birds.

I went outside and saw adult robins diving angrily at our side yard. Tuesday came around the corner of the house, licking her chops.

I ordered her back inside, then forced myself to go peek around the corner. Sure enough, there lay the body of a juvenile robin.

Sometimes I really, really dislike nature. I just fed that dog a nice bowl of breakfast, yet her instinct leads her to go kill something when she's not even hungry. (I'm sure if she could talk, she would argue that she's always hungry. Bitch.)

That mama bird was doing all the right things, then my selfish dog, a ball of id on four feet, ruined it. I hope she didn't kill the other one, too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On overcoming fear

Yesterday The Boy got him some clean toofs.

Yeah, the picture isn't any good; he's not that cooperative with smiling. But the point is, he got knocked out and cleaned up. And I got past some fears.

When I dropped him off, I told the teeth-cleaner two things: That one of my friends' dogs wound up clinically dead for a few minutes because of a problem with anesthesia during a cleaning; and that with Cub, the pre-anesthesia bloodwork for her teeth cleaning was the first tip-off that there was something wrong with her liver, leading me to associate teeth cleaning with the beginning of the end for my dog. (Despite these confessions, I'd still hazard a guess that I'm not the most neurotic dog parent coming through there this week.)

And yes, everything went smoothly, with the exception of a few minutes of screaming on The Boy's part as he was waking up from the procedure. They said they've seen that happen before with heelers. We know he's very vocal, and now they do, too.

The Alpha picked him up, and was regaled with the story of what happened before The Boy's checkup on Monday. Apparently it is unusual for one of the big talking birds in the waiting room to make her way down to the bottom of the cage just to laugh at a dog. And I mean long, sustained cackling. That's what happened when The Boy and I arrived. He was extremely curious, but didn't rush the cage or anything. It must've made the vet techs' week if they were still talking about it two days later.

So, there's that. Can you tell things have been pretty calm around here if I made a whole blog post about a dog having his teeth cleaned?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Forever home -- for real this time

Oh, sweet Crystal... wallering around on my friend M's carpet.

And hamming it up for the camera while rubbing fur all over M's pretty couch.

I got the official word tonight, at the close of an email message: "She has been so great for me. Oh, btw, she is a keeper."

btw? Hey, this is some news to drop as a "btw..." Yes, of course I called him right away. She was cuddled up on the couch next to him while we talked.

We know there's probably no such thing as the perfect dog, but, as Jules would say, there's definitely such a thing as the Perfect-For-Us Dog. And it looks as though M found his Perfect-For-Him Dog.

I am so, so glad.

Monday, March 28, 2011

11th birthday

Cub, on her first day in our family.

If she were still alive, she'd be 11 years old today.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing I miss a dog this fiercely.

It's even a made-up birthday: our best guess counting back her age in estimated weeks, combined with a day significant in other months of the year. But here I am, crying about my dead dog on her made-up birthday.

Recently, I've seen car magnets shaped like a paw print, with the words "Who Rescued Who?" in the center. I wondered that about Cub and me long before anyone was selling it as a slogan. In the end, I couldn't rescue her from liver disease. Nobody could.

I'm really hoping my eyes aren't puffy in the morning. I have an optometrist appointment, and I can hear it now:

"Are your eyes always this irritated?"

"No, I just spent last night crying over my dead dog."

"Oh, I'm so sorry. When did it happen?"

"Three years ago."

**blink blink**

November of 2007 in Eureka Springs... the last "fun trip" we took with both dogs.

Angus hasn't been the same since she died. When Cub was here, he knew his place: back of the pack. He was content with it, and it worked well for everyone. Cub was his rock. Now, he doesn't know where he stands. We were hoping that when we adopted Tuesday, he would make her his beta or, failing that, accept her as his alpha, but neither scenario worked. They get along pretty well, but he won't play with her. He's kinda cranky.

I've heard that there's that dog for every dog person. The one dog who will always be elevated above all others, canonized, sainted, crowned The Best Dog That Ever Was.

I hope there's just one, because I don't plan to quit being a dog person, and there's only so much of this I can take.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day-by-day dog

That's what Crystal is right now. Her foster "dad," M, and I are taking it day by day. He isn't going to boot her out the door on Friday (a good thing, since I have nowhere for her to go and two rescue organizations have said they can't help), but he hasn't said he's ready for her to live there forever, either.

Although he did say she has been "the perfect dog" thus far, in the time she's spent at his house.

So I'm praying for continuing perfection.

In other news:

- Lovely Niece's husband (who still doesn't have a blog name, but that doesn't mean I don't love him) landed a job at a national home improvement retail chain (not the orange one). He had three--three--interviews for the part-time position. He later learned that he was chosen from among 150 applicants for that one non-seasonal position. If that's what he's been up against this past year and a half, no wonder it took so long to land a job! The better news is that even though it's part-time, he does qualify for benefits. Lovely Niece doesn't get university benefits during her internship year, which begins soon, so having another source for health insurance will be especially helpful. *sigh of relief*

- We began work on the master bathroom walls. Ugh. We have a 7-foot-long mirror in there above the vanity. It's going to have to come out of there soon, and I don't know where to put it while it's down. Also, we want both bathrooms functional next time we have visitors (in just a couple of weeks), so we're going to have to watch our timing.

- Speaking of timing, the dogs know what time it is. Breakfast time. Off to fill their bowls.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So a while back, I wrote about my last rescue dog, Crystal, not working out in her adoptive home. Then it seemed that the family had re-committed to working with a trainer and that things were going to be fine.

Well, that didn't last. Bottom line: Crystal needs to be re-homed. Her now-former adoptive family last night bid her a tearful farewell, and she is spending the week with my friend M. M is a teacher and has his Spring Break this week, and thus a little extra time on his hands. (He is also in the market for adopting a dog of his own, but I'm not getting my hopes up here. See me, not getting my hopes up?)

I really hated arranging for this type of thing long-distance, but that's how it works when you've moved and you still have commitments in the place you left. So my friend A did an excellent job serving as my proxy in last night's transition; she had met the family when they adopted Crystal, so she helped M with picking her up from their home. M also brought along another dog-person friend, and A said she was great to have there for support. The M-to-dog introduction went well, and after they'd had some time to get acquainted, Crystal walked, on her leash, like a normal dog, to M's car for the trip to her temporary home.

So here it is 6:00 the next morning, and I'm hoping M and Crystal had a good night. I'm also praying he falls in love with her and can't let her leave at the end of the week, but I'm not about to push that on him. She isn't what he wanted -- a Labrador Retriever or mix thereof. In fact, when he was buying a crate for her yesterday, I told him that though the crate size I had would be sufficient for her, he would really be better off buying the next size up so it would hold his future Labrador. (See me, still not getting my hopes up?)

But look at this face!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Sharing a couple of things today. First, an accomplishment:

Sunday night we hung up some stuff in the kitchen. Appropriately, it's a "Dog and God" motif -- three dog portraits, two religious items (the plaque, if you haven't seen one before, is in Latin... "Bidden or unbidden, God is present").
Oh, I meant to crop that image tighter so it would show up better. Eh. It's already uploaded now. You get what you get.

And the second image, from our usual dog-walk route around our new neighborhood:

Yes, that's a mailbox. With a little patch of grass on top. With an angel sitting there. If this doesn't look like a teeny little cemetery, I don't know what does. (Because of the positioning of the mailbox, though, we don't think it's deep enough to actually bury any complete creature carcass. Perhaps the ashes of the last mail carrier are in there?) SpookyRach, because of this scene, we think of you on every walk.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh, the days, they pass.

And here I am on the downhill side of February.

- Under deadline at work. I have until Wednesday 4 p.m. for a deadline that's normally Friday at 10 a.m. But I feel as though today I triumphed. I drafted the big article that all the church nerds will want to read. The rest of the words will come (a few column-inches at a time). And for help with making it pretty, I'll turn to the can-do-anything communications assistant across the hall. So tonight, instead of trying to write more of that stuff for which they pay me, I'm blogging.
- Last year it didn't bother me that I wasn't going, but this year I'm trying not to envy the folks going on the Big Event 4.0. The first two were lovely. Perhaps in year five...
- We bought Angus and Tuesday their first bag of "vibrant maturity" chow. The Boy will be 7 in April. The bag says for dogs 7+. He's no more vibrant than he was before, but then again, he's a pretty vibrant little guy. Tuesday is older, we have always guessed, but her vibrancy isn't in question, either. I just keep thinking that at this age with Cub, we were beginning our losing battle with liver disease.
- My Dear Sweet College Friend of The Jacuzzi Incident of 2010 is having her c-section in the morning. (Yes, that was the "life got a little more complicated" reference near the beginning of that post.) Deadline, schmeadline, I'll be making a run to the hospital for a visit.
- We haven't done anything to the interior of House Two since we painted the guest room and office. What remains paint-wise is in the master suite. I told The Alpha he can go ahead and buy the bedroom paint, but I haven't yet made up my mind color in the bathroom.
- When we finish the bathroom walls, we can pay someone to have the whole-house interior trim painted. It's still not enough motivation to get me to choose a color.
- Lovely Niece defended her dissertation last week. It was a breeze, with professors arguing with each other instead of asking her difficult questions. She really impressed them, as we knew she would.
- Our first trip back to Texas since we moved is coming up soon. I'm sure that will stir up a bunch of feelings and crap. Oy.
- Time for bed. Tomorrow is one of those crazy mornings in which The Alpha has a long commute and we all get up well before the sun figures out what's happening.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February already

A loose collection of thoughts before I head into the office on this rainy morning:

- People to the north, south, and west of us are being buried in snow. Here, it's just wet, wet, wet.
- There was a time when I'd have been jealous of those in the snowy regions. Now, I think of the people in our city who don't have a warm place to sleep at times like this.
- For the third time this year, canvascommunity is turning its worship space into a warming center where people who normally sleep outdoors can spend the next few nights. Overnight lows this week will dip into the teens and twenties.
- I've written about the warming center elsewhere, for my job. I've also given my time and resources to help. And for the first time in my life, I've gotten to know individuals who are homeless.
- We haven't decided whether we're going to make canvascommunity our church home. But we've been attending every Monday, and have helped serve Communion twice, including last night.
- I can't recall that I've ever seen an adult as happy to receive Holy Communion as Patrick, a 5-foot 2-inch man who lives in a dugout cave near the river.
- Just three days ago, the weather was so sunny and beautiful that The Alpha convinced me to hike up a mountain in a nearby state park. We took the dogs, and many other people we encountered on the trail had brought their four-footed hikers, too. I was impressed with TuesDog. I didn't expect her to have the stamina she displayed. At a couple of points, she actually pulled forward enough to help me in my climb.
- Later that afternoon, The Alpha's parents came over and we completed the dismantling of the 12-foot koi pond in the backyard. With barely any water left in the thing, we still found one last living fish (total rescued fish: 18), and took it over to the pond in my brother's neighborhood.
- Even if it were dry outside today, I wouldn't leave the dogs unsupervised in the backyard. Just after the koi pond demolition, TuesDog took a bite of the muck that once held aquatic plants. We don't want her feasting on such things.
- She has been hiding from the thunder this morning. Thankfully, it seems to have passed, and she's now lying on the floor beside me.
- Angus The Boy seems to be doing well. We were concerned about some weight loss last week, but we adjusted his food and are giving him a spoonful of peanut butter now and then for good measure. He seems healthy otherwise, and isn't due for a checkup for a couple more months.
- Uh-oh, some more distant thunder. There goes TuesDog, just a few steps in the direction of the bedroom closet.
- I spent several hours on Sunday pregnant-lady-sitting Friend Regina, who is on bed rest. Her shower is Sunday, overlapping the Super Duper Name-Trademarked Big Game kickoff. It's the only time we could get her church's parish hall (yes, she will still be on bed rest; we're going to borrow the fainting couch from the church bride's room). I wonder how many women will skip wishing their friend well in favor of watching a bunch of men they don't know run headlong at each other. Hers has been a particularly difficult pregnancy; I'd show up for her anywhere, any time.
- Been hungry a lot lately. Wondering what hole I'm trying to fill with the extra food, but not wondering hard enough to really explore it.
- More thunder. TuesDog went ahead and moved to the closet.
- Now that the rain has picked back up, it's time to make the dogs take one last trip outside before I leave them indoors for the day. Joy. Poor poppies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

She couldn't resist the power of his cuteness.

Just a quick before-work post to announce my friend Kirsten's new pup:

Adam is his name right now, though she may plan to change it when he gets home today. He was on my former city's shelter euthanization list this week. Joe, the amazing and dedicated animal services staff member who works his tail off to try to get animals placed rather than euthanized, added a personal note about Adam to this week's list. He makes videos of animals as he's able, and he did a lovely one of Adam set to James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend." I posted it on that ubiquitous social networking site that has had the annoying effect of decreasing blogging, and three friends shared it.

One of those friends was Kirsten. And even though she already had two dogs, she didn't wait for someone else to go adopt Adam. So now, instead of losing his life today, Adam is only losing his junk (which I'm pretty sure he won't miss), and Kirsten can pick him up at the vet after 4:00.

I knew there was a reason I never told Joe to take me off his email list after I moved.