Monthly Archives: November 2010

Daily Dose of Disgustingly Cute

Because who doesn’t love a video of a dog and cat playing?

Important things to note: Truman is purring THE WHOLE TIME. The part where they are both startled is when Jake runs by (you can’t see him).  And if you have no idea what I’m talking about because you read this in Google reader, just click over to the actual site.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!



Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Flip Cups for Pups

Well, today marks the last day of NaBloPoMo, and I know that you want to hear about my dog.  Who doesn’t want to hear about my dog?

As the days have been getting shorter and it’s been getting darker, I have to admit that Daphne has been getting less exercise and stimulation.  In the fall, I could come home from work and take her to run in the woods, where she could frolic and sniff around to her heart’s delight; now, I’m nervous that it will get dark out before we make it back to the car, or that she’ll find delicious evening animals like porcupines and skunks.

teach her to dance!

So the question became: what can we do to keep her entertained?  A couple of things are to play with her more in the yard and around the house, and to take her for more leash walks around the neighborhood.  But my new favorite thing is our new way of feeding her.

This was inspired by our friends’ dog, who eats the food that they toss outside on the ground for her.  It slows down her eating and gets her to forage a little, using at least SOME mental energy.  It was also inspired by Shiva’s mad skills at a Nina Ottosson toy.  You can do this at home with very little effort, folks! The only downsides are: 1. a dog who drools while she watches you set it up, and 2. drool spots on the floor from where your dig licks up the kibbles.

First, collect some empty cups; we used six paper cups.

Second, make sure you have someone to supervise; it keeps things interesting.

(“Is this dog food?! I LOVE dog food!”)

Next, measure out the appropriate amount of food.  Daphne gets around 1 1/2 cups.

Divide food evenly between all cups.

This is the point where I usually send Daphne to her crate, and then stack up the cups to bring in to the other room.  Truman is very helpful in this process.

Daph waits… uh… patiently? Eagerly is a better term. I’m not sure you can see the drool in this picture.

Truman helps her with the kibbles.

Watch the whole thing in the 30-second video below!

Right now she just nudges the cups over and pushes them along the floor to get the food out.  It usually takes her about 20 seconds to eat a cup and a half of kibble out of her food dish; this process takes her about 5 minutes, which is a fantastic improvement.  I’m not sure where to go from here, though.  Some ideas were to put out some empty cups, or to hide the cups around the house, but I’m worried she would forget them, we would forget them, and we’d find dog food on the floor months later.

What do you do to keep your beasts entertained as it gets colder and darker outside?



Filed under Menagerie

Gratitude, Inside Out

Things for which I am grateful:

Fighting cats. Halfway through the fighting, they start cleaning each others’ faces. Cutest thing ever.

Bickering spouses. Halfway through the bickering, we realize how silly we are being, and apologies ensue, along with a thoughtful conversation with how to improve our lives, end world hunger, and stop global warming. We are pretty awesome.

bicker bicker bicker

all better! excellent!

How freaking cold it is outside the covers in the morning. It makes me really appreciate a quality down blanket as well as my apparently freakish ability to produce body heat.  Yeah, body, thanks for being awesomely warm!

It's cold out there and I am NOT coming out.

Nonworking internet the one night I finally decide to keep writing wedding recaps. Instead I finally had the time to go through and delete a lot of my photos, so maybe my computer will stop telling me there’s not enough memory to run my applications. Oops.

So.  I had big things planned for you today, but see my last gratitude and you’ll understand why you got this list fifteen minutes before I have to leave the house.  How much do I appreciate you guys? I’ll make sure to put up a post while it’s still dark out. THAT much.

What went “wrong” for you this weekend that really went right?

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Filed under Home, other, Relationships

The Old Ball and Chain

You know how you hear jokes all the time about how unhappy married people are?  You know, they never have sex, they resent each other, they always have to ask permission to do the things they want to do, and usually the answer is no.  It’s all nicely summed up in one phrase: “the ol’ ball and chain”.  Yeah, that was totally my goal when we got married – to weigh my wife down and never let her do anything.  Hi honey!  You’re not allowed to do anything fun!


"I, Bird, vow to take you, Turtle, and make your life very difficult. Also I will always ask you for a puppy, even after you've said no."

If you hadn’t noticed from pretty much every marriage related post I’ve written, we really tried to go into this thing with our eyes wide open.  Here’s what we want in our marriage, here’s what we don’t want. We know it’ll be hard sometimes, but we’ll work through it.  All that good stuff.

Funny, though, how things sneak up on you.  Two months in, we realize: we are not giving enough.

In the course of planning our wedding and preparing to start our marriage, I remember reading somewhere that one key to a successful marriage is always giving more than you expect to receive.  If both people are trying to give more than they’re expecting to get, every gift is a pleasant surprise, something to be grateful for, something to appreciate.

Well, Turtle and I sort of, ahem, forgot that for a bit there.  I think that part of it has been the chaos of the last week: Thanksgiving, petsitting, quitting my job, struggling to make things work every day.  We’re both a little frazzled and this comes out in, “Can you walk the dog? Can you clean up the cat poop?  Why didn’t you give the kitten water? Will you take out the trash?” And even more than asking each other to do chores, there’s a lot of “Can you get me a drink? Can you turn on that light for me? Can you do something I could do just as easily but I’m lazy and comfortable and don’t want to get up?”

the "ahh sometimes marriage takes work" face

Here’s what we should be doing: trying to do it for each other.  If I want a drink, I should get my drink and offer her one, and she should do the same.  Look! We’ll both feel taken care of, we’ll both feel like we are actively taking care of something important (our relationship), and everyone will have drinks!  Fun solution!

And so, I suppose, reality kicks in.  As much as we can prepare for marriage and make all those promises about always loving and caring for each other, sometimes we are going to slip up.  Yes, we knew that already, but we hadn’t gone and done it yet (while married, anyway).  Also, as Turtle pointed out, this is far from the big things we will have to deal with during our marriage: this is smaller than finances, than death, than hard family things; but it is also the small things that make us strong enough to handle those big things.

So here’s to a happy Sunday.  Here’s to starting a new week and turning over a new leaf – or just a leaf that we sort of forgot about and fell behind the couch and we only just found it again.  Here’s to giving more.

What relationship bumps caught you by surprise, how did you find them, and what are you doing about them?


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Relationships

T is for Trouble, Truman, and TrueLove

To commemorate my last day of Petsitting Insanity, I bring you the Celebrated Truman, also known as T Monster, TruMonster, and Squeee! Because he’s just that cute.

First, pictures of him with us so there’s something of size to compare him to.

Day one, about ten minutes after we came home.

5 or 6 weeks

kittens are cute as a survival technique, because honestly they have no manners and they are very sharp.

sevenish weeks?

Also 7ish weeks.

Thanksgiving kitten! He's around 10 weeks now.

Second, just adorable pictures of him, because kittens are really cute.

Teeny weeny! He lived in the tub for his first week with us.

He helped my friend Kitty with her Halloween costume: Crazy Cat Lady.

He became more catlike!

He learned how to get into laundry baskets/ideal napping places/hiding places that scare his mommas into thinking they lost him.

Truman and Daphne are learning to be in love.

Have a happy Saturday!


Filed under Menagerie

It’s Going to Be a Good Day and other foxy things

It’s Black Friday and even if I wanted to go shopping, I couldn’t, because I am very busy and important.  Luckily, we all live in the age of the internet and you can buy pretty things online.  I am not sure that I will be buying pretty things, but I am sure that I can show you some pretty things I have bought or coveted in the past.  Plus, they are all handmade!  Enjoy, and tell me if you love something or end up buying any of these.  Happy holidays!

(click on any image to see the Etsy store it came from)

Things I bought:

I love this dog collar from The ModDog. This particular style is Duck Season, and we bought it for Daphne about a year ago.  I love the martingale style and the Kandinsky-esque circles.


I bought this necklace from I Dream I Can Fly for Turtle for Christmas/Solstice, but then she lost her job so I gave it to her early. As she says, it was a “Happy firing present.”  But really it was a “Chin up, there’s hope and also I love you and am awesome” present, and she still wears it a lot.  So pretty.


I love love love Kristiana Parn.  I love the pictures but the titles are the icing on the cake; the one above is called “It’s Going to be a Good Day,” and I love that.  I bought this for Turtle’s best friend, and I don’t remember why.  Also, the Birds Sunrise is beautiful.


For our first anniversary, I commissioned a custom portrait of Turtle’s cat Piper, who was the love of her life before I came along.  cdingo was fantastic to work with and did a great job with a cat who has such unique and complex features.  She emailed me “drafts” of the work and I wrote back with “a little more black here” and “add a smudge of orange there,” and it came out looking like Piper, only less annoyed than Piper usually looks in pictures.


Here are some things that I might someday buy and that I think are really pretty:


I love these tiny mismatched earrings from Joannarutter, and I would probably love almost anything else in her store. I mean, who doesn’t need Rainy Day Studs?


Not sure if you’d picked up on this before, but I do kind of like dogs.  Not sure that I would want this awesome mobile hanging around now, but 10 or 15 or 20 years ago, I would have loved this. Okay, and maybe it would look nice in our study over the desk.  See more (including a derby girl mobile! and a Where the Wild Things Are mobile!)) at SaltyandSweet.


Continuing with the the dog theme (I know you’re shocked), these magnets are adorable and can show off your awesome dog (or cat or even small human!).  Check them out from Enidtraisman.


Just in case you were concerned that I didn’t love any of The ModDog‘s  other collars, don’t worry, I do I do I do! I think Daphne would look lovely in pears, though of course we’d need it to be a martingale.  But did I already mention that the seller can do whatever kind of collar you want!? They can, because they’re that amazing.


Lastly, I bring you some more art; the piece above is by dkim.  Real art from real people is something we always need more of.  This picture also reminds me of the first Ani Difranco song I connected with, when she sings,

two people pulled over on the same night
to look up at the same stars
they both found their wheels were spinning
in a soft shoulder…


Anyway, happy shopping, happy inspiration, and happy day after Thanksgiving!

Do you buy presents for all your family, or do a specified swap?  Do you buy for your friends? Do they buy for you?  Is your birthday like mine and Turtle’s and right after or before the holidays, and is this worth mourning or celebration?


(None of this is a “sponsored” post – these are all just things that I think are really pretty or that I had a good experience buying and owning.)


Filed under other

It’s far too late to unlove each other

Happy Thanksgiving!

And hi to the 49 of you who checked my blog already today.  You make me feel extra special.

I’m in a bit of a food coma and have cuddled with about five million cats today, all but two and a half of which did not belong to me.  The half is for Truman, who (still) may or may not be staying with us; regardless, he lives with us now.  Truman Fact of the Day: his purr button definitely works.  This kitten purrs at the drop of a hat! Second fact: he is very sharp and pointy.

For you on this Thanksgiving, I have two things.  First: a poem that we considered but did not read at our wedding.  I have always found truth and inspiration in it.  Second: a picture of us, last Thanksgiving, on the first of what I hope becomes a regular tradition – a pre-Thanksgiving walk in the woods.

I hope you all had a day that was what you hoped it would be.

“Perhaps you’ll tire of me,” muses
my love, although she’s like a great city
to me, or a park that finds new
ways to wear each flounce of light
and investiture of weather.
Soil doesn’t tire of rain, I think,

but I know what she fears: plans warp,
planes explode, topsoil gets peeled away
by floods. And worse than what we can’t
control is what we could; those drab
scuttled marriages we shed so
gratefully may auger we’re on our owns

for good reason. “Hi, honey,” chirps Dread
when I come through the door; “you’re home.”
Experience is a great teacher
of the value of experience,
its claustrophobic prudence,
its gloomy name-the-disasters-

in-advance charisma. Listen,
my wary one, it’s far too late
to unlove each other. Instead let’s cook
something elaborate and not
invite anyone to share it but eat it
all up very very slowly.

-William Matthews

(If you are wondering why I appear to be pointing my finger in this picture, it is because my finger was gravely injured, and wrapped up in a serious bandaid contraption?  How did I injure it?  Well, I’m sure you recall my mention of Pear and Fingernail Pie.  Lesson of the day: use caution while peeling pears.)

P.S. I wasn’t going to talk about things I am grateful for, because the list is long and more important for me than it is for you. But! You guys! While I was writing this, grumpy One-Eyed Jake started WASHING TRUMAN’S FACE! I am thankful for cats who love each other and are adorable.

P.P.S. It was short-lived. Now they are fighting and Jake is hissing and growling a lot.  Moral of the story (and the poem, IMHO)? Enjoy it while you have it.

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Filed under Home, Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Relationships