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Aug. 22nd, 2016

Summer lasts so long

Okay, obligatory pet picture:

Ivy's about 15 pounds now, and I think that's about where she will stay. She's still not fully housetrained. ~sigh~ She is, however, adorable, and David's warming up to her. He even has pet names for her. I had to give her a bath the other day, as she pees submissively, then rolls over on her back right in the puddle. Ew. I used a shampoo with some conditioner, and she's much softer and less wiry. Of course, that might just be from being less filthy, too.

The heat this summer has been ferocious. So hot, so humid, so awful. Today we're getting a break in the weather - only 90F for the high, and the humidity is below 60%. Gads. Fall comes in November, but the serious heat & humidity usually breaks in late September. I sure hope so.

Work's going well. I'm working with a new manager (one of four), and we get along. She's understandably nervous about the new job, and I'm giving her pep talks and encouragement. She also used to teach water aerobics at the gym, but hurt herself trying to put those stupid aqua bikes away, and hasn't been able to teach since. Anyway, I'm glad we have her. Another manager is just back from maternity leave, too. (I actually report to a fifth person, but my job is to help these four people get their classes done.)

I went to a cookout yesterday, and while I stayed in the shade most of the time, I also hung out in the pool, and got some sun. You'd think I knew better by now. Hell, I have known better since I was 10. And yet, I still manage to get a sunburn at least once per summer.

Speaking of pools and water aerobics, I have got to go back to the pool classes. When I got in it yesterday, I remembered how much I adore being in the water. I am certainly not getting any exercise outdoors (poor dogs), and I am certainly in need of it. Now that David doesn't mind caring for Ivy, I need to make that time. It's good for my body and my mood.

Jul. 11th, 2016

Obligatory puppy picture.

OMG the cuteness.

Jake & Ivy

Here are my dogs, chewing on the marrow bones that their grandparents got for them. Ivy continues to be adorable, a pain in the butt, not entirely housebroken, and the delight of my heart. She's getting better about being put in the harness, as she know it means she's going for a walk. Jake is still a patient and gentle boy, and very good, mostly. That's what I tell them: you are so good! Mostly.

My left heel's been sore for a few weeks, but when I got up on Saturday morning, I could barely stand on my left foot. I've tried the stretches I use for plantar fasciitis, but it hasn't helped entirely. I can deal with soreness, but exaggerated limping won't do. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. I suspect this is a new symptom of the PF, and I'll just have to go to stronger treatment measures, like a night-time brace. My doctor will probably just send me to a podiatrist, but that's how it works.

My daughter Sammi is coming to visit from Illinois tomorrow, and bringing her boyfriend. Dun DUN. We didn't even know she had one until she said he was coming with her. I've cleared the looms out of my office, and cleaned the carpet in preparation. The looms are now in the formal living room, in a herd. Hey now, there are only six, and one isn't mine anyway. Ahem.

David has a broken thumb, and he's wearing a cast. It's been two weeks and he detests it, and wants to cut it off. I really don't see how that will work, but he keeps bringing it up. He's a bear of very little patience. Whiny the Pooh. Really, he's more bitchy than whiny. Ha!

Jun. 22nd, 2016

Hot hot hot

Summer was late to arrive, but here it is, in all its steamy glory. Gah. It's going to be 100F tomorrow, and the humidity is around 50%. This is the price I pay for mild winters. The tomatoes are producing like crazy, which is nice. I might need to make some salsa just to use them up.

Ivy is now 4.5 months old. At the vet yesterday, getting her last set of puppy shots, she was 11.5 pounds. She's bigger than George, and would be bigger than Cooper (mom's poodle) if her legs weren't so short. It looks like the rescue's original estimate was right -she'll be about 20 pounds. In the past few weeks, the fur on her face has turned brownish, so she's easier to photograph.


Holy crow, I just love this dog.

She's getting better about house training, too. I love my little bitey girl. Jake plays with her so gently, too, especially considering that she's hanging off his ear or jowl half the time. While we were at the vet, I had them clip her nails, too. She did not appreciate that at all. The vet only charges $8 for it, so hell yeah they get to do it. They get to give Jake a bath, too, but Ivy fits in the kitchen sink, so I can bathe her at home. I've had to - she likes to roll in stinky stuff. Whew! She may be little and cute, but she's still a dog. I'm happy to report that she barks just like Poppy did - a real bark, not a yip or baying like a beagle. (Poppy was our dog when I was a kid, a Shih Tzu with a great personality and a big bark.) Sometimes she stands at the edge of the patio and barks at the neighbor's dogs. In her defense, sometimes I stand out in the yard and bark at those idiot dogs myself.

The best thing about Ivy is that she is fearless and cheerful - happy to meet you and not cringing at all. My girl!

May. 2nd, 2016

You little monster!

Ivy is 11 weeks old! At the vet last Friday, she weighed almost 8 pounds. She did not appreciate the shot, no ma'am, nor the bordatella vaccine up her nose. Before we went to the vet, I took her to the office and let all the ladies come and squeal over her. She is ridiculously cute.

She's still a piranha, and in fact, she drew blood a couple of times yesterday. She was relatively quiet all day, then turned into a ball of teeth after dinner. She also discovered that she can yelp, and I will spring into action. It's a hideous noise.

I put hardware cloth along the bottom of the carport gate last night, so Ivy can't get out. I don't know why I waited so long, but now she can go out without direct supervision, hallelujah. I put her and Jake out there this morning while I was eating my breakfast: perfect. She can get up and down the steps pretty well now.

Saturday, I took her out for a walk with Jake. She hasn't liked the leash at all so far, but when Jake was out in front, along she went. It was stop and go in places, but she got a LOT of exercise. We went around the block, which is half a mile, a long way when your legs are 4 inches long! So things are progressing.

She's figuring out the house training, too. Whenever I see her doing her business outside, she gets praise and a treat. I don't yell at her for going in the house, but simply clean it up and make sure to get her out more often. I've had good results with setting an alarm for 15 minutes after she eats, then taking her out. I can't feed her with Jake around - he would push her out of the way and eat everything - so he eats outside and she eats inside.

George the cat plays with Ivy sometimes, but when he's done, all he has to do to gain altitude. A chair works, or the back of the couch. He's getting to be a chub, our George. I hope playing with the puppy helps!

Playtime is over!

Apr. 19th, 2016

Ivy the furry piranha

I got Ivy from a rescue organization on April 7. She was 7 weeks old, and 6 pounds.

Ivy has had a big day.

She is now 9 weeks old, not afraid of much besides Mom's dog Max, and chewing everything she can get her jaws around. The worst is the nipping, dear lord. Bite monster. I've sacrificed some plastic sandals to her, just to get her off of something else she's got, like my hand. Mom got her some small Nylabones, but Jake got hold of one and chewed one end off. I'm concerned that he might swallow a small toy, or part of one. (He's a knucklehead about some things, and a gulper. If he thinks it might be edible, he will try to eat it. I picked up some poop a few weeks ago that clearly contained plastic grocery sack, which was alarming.) Ivy really likes Jake's rope toy, but he pouts when she has it. Still, he's a gentle dog, and does not attempt to overpower or intimidate her. My good boy.

She's getting better about letting me know when it's time to go out. She still thinks the leash is some bullshit, man, don't pull on my neck! I'll get a harness and see if that improves her response. She's still little enough that I can't leave her in the yard alone, as I'm pretty sure she can get through gaps in the fence. But she's happy to be out there, and watches Jake to see what he's doing. She's pretty fond of Milkbones Trail Mix, which is small enough for her tiny self.

Would you look at this face?


How could I resist?

Mar. 21st, 2016

First Monday in Spring

Wow, things have been BUSY around here. I volunteered to take care of a bunch of classes, and they've got me hopping.

Last weekend, David and I moved the raised garden bed boxes to a sunnier spot, and I planted some tomatoes and squash, and seeds for carrots, spinach, herbs, and radishes. Those seeds are already starting to sprout, but they might wish they hadn't, since the temperature dropped 25 degrees over the weekend. It will be warm again by Thursday, though. That's why we did that last week: the last frost date for this area (zone 8) is March 15.

On Saturday, I got a surprise visit from my brother Greg and his wife. They were on their way to Florida to see my other brothers and their wives, and since we are about 15 minutes off the interstate, they dropped in. They were only able to visit for about an hour, but it was so nice to see them. Also, they called when they were about an hour away, so we got the house clean(er) before they arrived. It's good to have company now and then, so we can remain civilized.

On Sunday, I took Jake out to a different part of post than we usually see, and walked about 3 miles. He logged twice the mileage, of course. It was overcast, with a temperature of about 50F, so it was a fine day for a long hike. I had to stop by the commissary afterwards, and Jake slept happily in the back seat until I came out. We both got our exercise, and then some.

Last night, I went bowling with a few of the women from my women's meeting. We only played two games, and it took almost two hours with all the chatting and horsing around, but it was fun. I am only an occasional bowler, but I enjoy it. I've probably been bowling two dozen times in my life. It's kind of like playing pool - fun, but not so compelling that I spend a lot of time on it.

This morning, I took both Jake and George to the vet. Jake needed a bath, and George needed his rabies shot. George did NOT appreciate the vet: he puked in his crate before I could get him home, poor kitty. I'm pretty sure it was stress - he had his mouth open, panting, when the vet was giving him the shots. He did not want to be there. Jake was happy as can be, as usual. I'll get him after work today, clean, nails trimmed, and ears cleaned. The vet techs all love him, because he's such a friendly dog.

A cute Jake story: when I took him on post yesterday, and went though the gate, the stern-looking MP took my ID card, and said "Good morning, ma'am," then spotted Jake, and his voice went up an octave. "Hey, buddy, what are YOU doing? What a good boy!" I rolled down the back window so he could say hello and give Jake a pat. His voice dropped back down. "Ahem. You have a good day, ma'am." That's my Jake - charming the socks off everyone he meets.

Feb. 22nd, 2016

National shame

I have to tell you, the idea of a President Trump is horrifying. Like, rise of Hitler horrifying. His rise was similar - inciting the fear and hatred of people who feel they are being cheated out of what they think they ought to have.

I was watching a PBS show on the civil rights movement, about the Freedom Summer and the and spitting hatred and violence that white people displayed. Suddenly, I thought of the German people and the national shame for the actions of the Nazis, and realized: my maternal ancestors were the people who profited by exploiting black people. My great great grandparents, and plenty of those before them, owned slaves. My Great Aunt Alpha and her husband referred to their black tenants as "nigras." I was not raised that way, and my mother was not raised that way, but the fact is, I have profited from the systematic oppression of black people in this country. We didn't have death camps and gas chambers on an industrial scale, but that's faint praise indeed. (Actually, you could make a good case for today's industrial prison system.)

However, though the people of the American South are still widely viewed as racist (though not by they themselves), other folks in this country feel free of this history. The truth is, racism is a huge part of our history. People talk about Bull Conner, but forget about the whites rioting in Boston, and the white flight to parochial and private schools, when integration came along. People in the west may not have the black slavery legacy, but our historical and present mistreatment and abuse of Asians and Latino populations are ignored. All this was preceded by the other original American sin: the genocide of the American Indians. We're all in it.

The GOP has built up its base on resentment and disdain towards poor and non-white people (and of course, the eternal hatred of women - sorry, Hillary), and this is the result. It's not surprising that Trump is in the lead, it's just surprising that they lost control of it so quickly. Having a black man in the White House has amped up the racist base to a fever pitch. The usual run of staid old white guys just wouldn't do any longer. Mitt blew it last time, and the racists sure weren't going to give Jeb a chance to screw it up this time. No, they need a guy who says what they say and believe, and that is Donald Trump.

I might have to move to Cape Breton after all.

Feb. 11th, 2016

Sunny and bright

The weather has been chilly, between 30F and 45F, and reasonably sunny. I'm still walking back and forth to work. It takes about 20 minutes, so it's a reasonable commute. I do think it's helping me stay healthy.

Work is much busier than it's ever been. In addition to my usual stuff, I'm doing programs for two other areas. Even having tripled my workload, I'm still not overworked, which indicates how un-busy I was for the previous 5 years. No wonder I was so bored. I"m still pretty bored, but I try to be grateful. It's a good place to work, I get along with everyone, and the pay's pretty good for the area.

These days, my body seems like a random collection of aches and pains. I have a series of stretches that I do in the morning before getting dressed for work, both for my hips (arthritis) and for my feet (plantar fasciitis). Neither condition is very bad, and I'd like to keep it that way. Stretching helps.

The funny thing is doing my floor stretches with Jake around. He stands over me, tries to lick my face (EW), then lies down next to me and puts his head on me - this morning, he put it on my chest, but sometimes he lays that big ol' head on my throat, or my face, followed by my weak cries of "No!" and helpless giggling. It's really a pain to have him RIGHT THERE all the time, especially when I'm trying to get ready, but I try not to yell at him about it. Jake just wants to be near me, always. He's a big lug, and I love him.

I'm working on a throw for a friend. It's the widest thing I've ever tried to weave, the full width of the reed.

Sue"s throw

It's plain weave, and it's lovely. The light stripe you can see through the warp is the sample I wove with white yarn. The white weft overwhelmed the colors. I switched to black weft, and it's much better.

Jan. 26th, 2016

First World Problems

I went to the doctor today for prescription updates. I fasted, as I had to get blood work done. The doc was good, the lab was good, the immunization clinic was good, the pharmacy - SCREECH. Prescription not filled completely. The rest of it is at a different location. Why? There was an explanation, but it was a stupid explanation. Dumb ass system and dumb ass people and what the hell is wrong with that doctor anyway? I went to the other location and got the rest of it. I have decent free health care and free prescriptions, courtesy of David's Army service, and I should be grateful. (Even it is a dumb ass system.)

I stopped for breakfast and COFFEE and lunch on the way in to work, as a courtesy to others. I parked in the new lot and walked to the office. It's a 10 minute walk, no trouble. If I drove from home to the parking lot and walked in, it would take about the same time as it takes me to walk the whole way. The walking is doing me good, really. I walked Jake this weekend and was much less sore at the end than usual. I need to keep moving so I don't rust up. I bet I'll change my tune when the heat returns, but that won't be for a while, yet.

Jan. 20th, 2016

Walking Wednesday

Winter has arrived at last here in NC. I'm still walking to and from work every day. David went to the store this afternoon and said, "This weather is brutal!" I didn't say so, but it was ten degrees colder this morning. It just doesn't bother me the way it does him. Yesterday, I walked to work wearing a skirt and tights. That was a little brisk, I admit, but once I get moving, it's not bad.

Jake has been a terrible pest now that he doesn't have Nigel to play with. We've got to get another dog. David wants to get a pound dog, which makes sense. Whatever we get, it can't be too large, because walking two labs at once was way too much. I was wrangling 170 pounds of boundless enthusiasm (to say nothing of the four poop bags I got to carry all over the neighborhood). I'm just glad I got home without getting turned into a Maypole.

When I took Jake out on Monday, I saw that someone cut a hole in the fence around the old golf course, probably so they can cut across the field. Sadly, that means that I can't let Jake off the leash over there any more. He doesn't run off very often, but when he does, he likes to get as much mileage out of it as he can. The hole in the fence is about 100 yards from a very busy road, and I can't take that chance. (I'm trying to figure out what I can do to close it up - clothesline, maybe, so I can let him run again.)

Tonight, I have an AA committee meeting. I foolishly showed up at one of these meetings and ended up the treasurer last January, which is a two year commitment. I get to write a report and attend a committee meeting every month. I'm also on other boards, and have those meetings to attend, too. My helium hand gets me in more trouble, I swear. Someone needs to volunteer, and my hand just pops into the air. (Cue Ado Annie, "I'm just a girl who can't say no, I'm in a terrible fix!")

There is some talk of snow this weekend. Please, Lord, no. It makes people crazy. However, the temps are going back up to the 50s next week, so even if we do get it, it'll be gone by Monday. Solar plowing!

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