Monday, January 31, 2011

Taco Night

Last night was Taco Night at our house. We had spicy chicken, homemade guac, refried beans, some "Spanish" rice, and taco shells.  Will was very excited about the dinner and I admitted to a friend over the phone that I was not.  When he asked why, I answered that this was a very common meal for us growing up. Oh, we didn't have it, well, maybe twice.  Apparently there will be more taco nights in my future. 
We sat down and I dug in, I started making my taco.  Only Will had some issues. He asked me how I make my taco.  I said that I put on the refried beans and then the lettuce-- the beans hold in the lettuce-- then I add the meat and toppings, in whatever order I wish. 

Will did just that: beans, lettuce, chicken, guac, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. He took a bite.  The taco split."Ohhhhh. The chicken is too low.... The chicken needs to be higher or else the whole thing to unstable."  

Perhaps you are stuffing it the taco shell with too much?  "No, it is a flaw of the shell.  It is too narrow."  So he tried taco #2. The first bite was successful.  The second, not so much.  The all the insides fall out onto the plate. 

"Oh this is hopeless.  See I need the flat taco, so even if it is overstuffed, it still won't split in half.  I might as well crumble the shell up on my plate and eat it that way. There is more of my taco on my plate than in my shell." 
By the fourth taco, Will seemed to have gotten the hang of it.
"See, I am better at it.  We will need to have more Taco Nights....  but I am a messy Taco Night Guy."  You can say that again!

And yes, these are direct quotes.  When he found out I was writing them down, he responded in the usual way: "Ohhhh are you getting bloggin material? ohhh, you are so mean!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

But Baby, It's Cold Outside

With the cold weather that seems to never end (and some chance of snow tomorrow!!), I keep thinking about the  Penguins in the Edinburgh Zoo.  Daily they parade from one end of their exhibit to the other--only the ones that want to go, mind you-- and people line up to watch.  They are amazing and quite curious about us as we are of them.  I just don't get how they can be just fine in the freezing temperatures, including being able to swim!

If you listen to the keeper, you can learn all sorts of stuff about the king penguins who paraded for us.  You have to ignore the crying child in the foreground--though he was crying because he was quite cold.  I was crying on the inside...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Death to the Monkey

 The other day, when we had Bartleby and Luna over, we had a 'death' in the toy family.

My monkey CD holder became the best toy in the universe.  So awesome that it caused a great scene of tug-of-war between Luna and Bartleby.  Stirling just stood by-- she cared nothing for the monkey anyway. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stirling's Play Date

We had the exterminator to our house on Tuesday to deal with our infestation of carpet beetles (um, fun!).  We were told that all living creatures needed to be out of the house for at least 5 hours-- so Stirling got a play date with Luna.  It was a rocky start to the morning, as we were hit with an ice storm and walking on the sidewalks was a bit daunting.  Stirling was slipping all over the place.  At Luna's, when both dogs went down the ice-encased stairs to the yard, it was scary.  Luna timidly stepped her down.  Stirling flat out refused at first. 

Once the ice thawed a bit, Luna and Stirling were taken to Battery Kemble for a romp, where they joined another pack of dogs for a race through the woods. Stirling, who has been cranky lately and not well behaved around other dogs (could it be that she has had too many doggie friends staying over?), was just fine herding all the different breeds into one manageable pack.


As a thank you for playing with Stirling all day, we gave Luna a squeaky Lambchop toy.  It was greatly appreciated.  I got a text with a video attached this morning from Luna's mom thank us for the toy.  I quote: "(shaking my fist in mock rage) damn that evil lamb chop... I have been listening to the this sound incessantly all morning." 

I am thrilled that our gift just kept on giving..... 

After a lovely play date, I picked up one tired dog and we returned to a menthol-smelling house that is hopefully rid of bugs.  If not, once more to Luna Stirling will go.  And I can bring yet another annoying toy as a thank you.... mwhahahah!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Walking Like a Duck

With the recent snow, folks and the city put out salt to help with the icing.  Salt and dog paws don't go well together, though that combo has never really bothered Stirling. 

Bartleby is another matter.  During our past two walks after the snow, Bartleby either stopped walking to lick at his paws or hold them up.  Or, he simply gave up walking, rolled on his back, holding his paws in the air.  Both actions came with pathetic looks to me and lots of whining.  Bartleby's mom gave us these rubber booties to put on Bartleby for just those reasons: he does not do well in the salty snow. For today's walk, I put them on him.  They are called Pawz and are made of a natural rubber, making them a disposal, waterproof dog boot.  His are bright blue and really look like a un-inflated balloon. 

The packaging includes endorsements from Butterfly, a Lhasa Apso in Philly; Dottie, a Dalmatian in Bozeman; and Spunky, a cocker spaniel in Toronto.  The dogs say how comfortable they are or how quickly they go on or how they stay on when romping. 

What they don't say is how when the dog has them on, they will sound like a duck when walking. The rubber hitting the pavement sounds like a duck's waddle.  Here, listen:

I couldn't stop giggling as Bartleby trotted past me or Stirling--the slapping of the rubber bootie is just too much!  It also was funny watching him try to stop when running in the snow.  He skidded to a stop or to change directions, rather than stopping on a dime.  Quite amusing, as he was able to turn around faster than Stirling. 

I will say that I didn't have to pick up Bartleby to carry him, as I had on the previous night's walk, so at least that is one thing these boots have going for them.  The other is the huge amusement factor for the human, much to the sacrifice of the dog's self image.

Monday, January 10, 2011

4 Dog Day

Oh, what a day-- a four dog day to be exact.  We are still watching Bartleby.  Luna's parents needed to get some painting redone so we had a doggie play date for the afternoon.  To make it even more interesting, we borrowed Biscuit for the afternoon walk in Battery Kemble.   At the usual play spot, these dogs had at it-- even Bartleby was enjoying being off leash and in the water.  They ran and ran and ran, chewed on sticks, and ran some more.

As we were walking back to the car, we noticed that Stirling had some issues. Her "doggie velco" was attracting all sorts of stuff: sticks, leaves, bark.  So much stuff was collecting on her hind legs, underbelly, and her chest.  When I stopped to try to help remove the debris, I realized it was actually frozen to her! Being in the cold water and then in the cold air, all her fur froze in straggling strands, to which the leaves and sticks clung.

When we got home, thankfully, I was able to brush most of that out once her hair defrosted.  The velco ability is really quite something. Or, as Will says in the video, she was wearing an entire tree on her @ss.  So glad our dog does not have weight issues....

In Affectionate Remembrance of AUSTRALIAN CRICKET.....

"....... which died in SYDNEY on 7th January 2011, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances. R.I.P. N.B. - The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to England."

Retained in what can only be described as an utter dismantling of the Australian team. Bloomin' marvelous.


Sunday, January 9, 2011


I am in Boston for work in what is my last meeting.  It is a sad but joyous occasion. now I will be able to enjoy the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Years without having to worry about board meetings, workshops, sessions, etc., as the last 11 years have been.  I had a great view of the the Charles River from my hotel room, and since that was the only bit of outside I glimpsed for 4 days, I got quite used to it.

The Charles River from my hotel room

To celebrate the end of an era for me, it was only appropriate to have a large piece of Boston Creme Pie, in the Fairmont Hotel's Oak Room with Yoyo Ma.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Phantom Menace

Luna is over for a playdate today - joy of joys - more dogs! The three have been romping around the house and garden all morning having a whale of a time.

Everything seemed to be going just fine until I saw the carcass.......

The football toy, presented to Stirling at Christmas had been methodically dismembered in the most violent and perverse way. Who could do such a thing I asked myself? Who could stoop so low and commit such a vile crime?

I assembled the suspects, the tribunal began:

Initially the power of their ringleader blinded me - I didn't need to see any identification, these weren't the dogs I was looking for. I should go about my business....

I focused on one who can stoop no lower - Bartleby. Then my attention focused on the vizsla who has already seen time in this courthouse, a repeat offender perhaps?

No - slowly...their lies crumbled in the face of my questioning and they revealed a conspiracy of epic proportions. Fortunately they were caught before the entire galaxy came under the control of the iron fist of.....

Darth Stirl-ing-der

Middle-aged politician of the house who has risen to power through deception and treachery (and whoring herself out for treats). She outwardly behaves like a well-intentioned and loyal public servant, yet underneath her affable public persona lurks her true identity: Darth Stirl-ing-der, a Dark Lord of the Sith.

Using her manipulative powers she had forced her padawans to carry out the heinous crime. It went down like this....sending the little one to distract me, the big one went and did the business.

The motive? Apparently she doesn't like chew toys or something.....

Proud and unbowed she vows to fight on. Fortunately her minions have exited her shadow.

The investigation continues....(I just want to make sure none of them are my father)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bartleby Visits

Bartleby, the basset hound, has come for an extended stay-- two weeks while his mom cruises to Mexico and back. He is one of Stirling's friends from the dog park (and helped celebrate Stirling's one year anniversary with us). He is very sweet and when he shakes, his ears flop all around-- it is adorable.

He is impossibly long, though. He is actually longer than Stirling, who is from nose to start of tail 33 inches (we needed to measure Stirling the other day). And, so far, he has not stopped moving. He is sniffing everything, trying to eat everything, and playing with everything. Stirling is a bit unsettled by all the activity. Bartleby has yet to take a nap!

Course, that could be because Stirling is in his bed... She squeezed herself into it. Will will have his hands full as I leave for my work's annual meeting in Boston (my 12th one! I am a bit tired of meetings in January, I have to say). This will be an interesting visit, that is for sure.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Dog and a Dish Party

On Sunday, we celebrated having one year with Stirling! We can't believe how our lives have changed by having her. In order to celebrate, we decided to have over her dog park friends. The owners brought a dish, either savory or sweet (some brought both!) and their dog(s).

It was chaos. Mass chaos: 10 dogs will do that. We had:
  • Stirling
  • Luna, a Visula puppy
  • Angus (unexpected guest, but still welcome), Norwich terrier
  • Dali, mini poodle
  • Tucker, mutt
  • Gatsby, spaniel
  • Bartleby, extra-long basset hound
  • Chloe, King Charles spaniel
  • Sadie, yellow lab
  • Biscuit (her bestie!), golden retriever
We had lots of treats to eat and drink, both for two-legged and four-legged types, and plenty of toys that were thrown, tugged, torn, and tossed. Everyone had a great time and was really impressed with the party-- particularly that we were brave enough to host 10 canines. Nothing was damaged or destroyed. Everyone behaved themselves! Well, it wasn't as innocent as I am describing. Angus "the humper" took a fancy to Bartleby once Dali rebuffed his advances.

Stirling had a lot of fun and completely collapsed in happy exhaustion after the last puppy guest last. We decided that we are either really brave or really stupid: we made tentative plans to host another one when the weather gets warmer!