Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two Important Points

1. 68 Second Solitaire Game. Boo-yah.

2. Is there any song more guilty and yet more just rock awesome than Boys of Summer by Don Henley? For real. Damn. I wonder if there is a way I can make the song play while you read this.

A few other things:

Q. How can you tell that I have lived with Austin Gray for three years?
A. Part I: I said Boo-yah up there.
A. Part II: I called someone an Ass Clown in traffic the other day.
A. Part III: I spent a healthy part of this morning researching methods of making your own sausage at home. This is after a long-running debate about this process and the potential ickiness of it. But I figure, so long as I keep my foot firmly planted on the Will We Get Our Own Pig to Therefore Raise and Slaughter Issue (Austin's defense: it would be like a pet, and we'd name it Joey Joe Joe), I can help with grinding up some spicy bits and maybe some non-scary pork shoulder that we buy at a store and don't have to hack off a formerly-live animal ourselves. Particularly one with a name.

That's all I've got today. More news on yesterday's requested Karma-fest soon. Sushi tonight, hooray! And chicken parmesan at home tomorrow, yum yum.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I know I always send All Users out and ask for help with things, or demand your presence somewhere important, but today I'm asking for a tiny favor: I just really need a few seconds of your Best Wishes types of thoughts... good luck, crossed fingers, a little prayer, whatever it is you do. I hate to be one of those Vague Bloggers who talks about things in a nonspecific way so as to not incriminate themselves, but just this once, please just trust me and send some Positive JuJu Hoo Doo Voodoo my way for this afternoon. I'll tell you all about it as soon as I can.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Meet Mischa

I've never had a puppy. Our family dog, Grumpy, was born when I was a sophomore in high school, and therefore never at home if I could help it, and angst-ful on top of that. I never really bonded with Grumpy the way my sisters did. Particularly when he was a puppy. I abstained from his care, feeding and training as much as possible. As I've become an adult, my cat-person-ness has become a very big part of me. I have ALWAYS had cats, they are among my closest friends and constant companions. When I lost my big Boogie cat almost two years ago, it was a worse heartbreak than I had ever imagined.

And then there's Ingrid. I certainly wasn't expecting her or prepared for her. It was an impulsive move, going from dog-owner-never to 140 lb St. Bernard in my backyard. It took me a couple of years to learn how to care for her properly, and to find the best place for her, both physically and emotionally. We've been together for almost six years now, which is shocking to me.

Then we semi-adopted my dad's golden retriever mix, Bridgette. Since Grumpy died last summer, Bridgette had been a little bit of a behavior problem at Dad's house, occasionally sneaking up the hill and stealing tools from his landlord's house (bad). She just needed companionship and guidance, and for a dog like Bridge, that really only comes from other dogs. She came up to stay with us in the spring, bonded instantly with Ingrid, and settled in pretty well at our house, particularly with Charlie Murphy, who was very affectionate with her. Cause he's that kind of kid.

A little back story here: Austin and I are amateur vegetable gardeners. We started with cherry tomatoes (quite by accident) the first summer that we lived in our house, and then expanded to herbs and heirloom tomatoes last summer, and this summer we wanted to tackle zucchini and cucumbers. Ingrid is not a destructive dog (what with her propensity to just lay) but last summer we had some troubles growing tomatoes with her help. In the summer, her propensity to lay becomes her propensity to lay in the coolest spot possible, and when we watered the tomato plants in the morning, the wet beds became, of course, the coolest spot in the yard. Her un-destructive-ness does not apply to anything she might try to lay ON. Most of our tomato plants grew parallel to the ground last summer. Enter Brigette, who is a digger. By spring she had decorated our yard with numerous ankle-risky sinkholes. So we surveyed our yard, surveyed our dogs, and decided to send them to my Dad's house for the summer. It's cooler out there, plenty of room to roam, and more covered shelter during thunderstorms, plus there is a creek, in which Ingrid likes to immerse herself multiple times a day. Having Ingrid-the-good-example out there has helped Bridgette control her klepto impulses, and so far everybody seems to be getting along well and having a good time. I feel a little guilty about this exile, and I do miss the Biggest particularly, but after a visit with them this weekend, I know they are doing great, as is our garden.

I've explained all of this so as to thoroughly illustrate how very unlikely we were to decide to adopt a puppy. I have repeatedly said in my 30 years, "I would never get a puppy." Mostly after visiting friends' houses that have been systematically destroyed by the youngest member of the family. Or after puppy-sitting for a friend several years ago, and her kid ate my favorite purse. Things like that. Once I saw a St. Bernard puppy at Petsmart and was shocked by my immediate thought that I'd been cheated out of a cute puppy by getting Ingrid when she was already full-grown, but immediately shoved it out of my mind. We have two adult dogs, more than I ever guessed I would want, and even those we've banished for the summer. And a house full of three cats who provide plenty of entertainment and affection (and require plenty of care and attention). We do NOT need a puppy.

About a month ago, the night of the Sopranos series finale (oh my GOD), we were at Stephanie and Charles's house, getting dinner together. Megan comes in and says, "There's a puppy out here."Everyone squeals and goes outside to see it, but I remained hardhearted and continued slicing eggplant. I knew better than to even SEE a puppy. I've been told that Austin went outside, took one look at it, and predicted that this puppy would spend the night in our back yard. I resisted for a while, ignoring everyone saying, "Delaney, you have to see this puppy," (I did NOT have to see a puppy!).Finally everyone was outside and I was getting lonely, so I went on the front porch. There was a brown-and-black Pile of Pitiful out there, chewing on a towel. I sat down, the pile climbed up in my lap, and I have to admit, it was probably that very moment when this puppy's future was cemented. As Grimey once said, "Pal, you've won the puppy lottery."

She did stay in our backyard that night, and went with me to the vet the next day. She was a total mess, missing lots of hair, scaly skin, fleas, etc. She weighed 9 pounds and had at least two types of intestinal worms. But she was sweet and patient, and actually fell asleep on the vet's table. When I asked the vet what kind of dog she thought it was, she just laughed.

We named her Mischa.

She's doubled in size in a month. 18 lbs on Monday, and still with some skin issues, but very treatable, according to the vet. Potty training has been an adventure for all parties, but this week has shown some significant breakthroughs. She has a blue sheep that is her best friend, and she carries it from room to room. She sleeps on her green bed in our dressing room. She very rarely crosses the threshold of our bedroom because she's (rightfully) terrified of Mackenzie. We are terrible disciplinarians and parents, and she sits on the couch with us while we watch tv or play on the computers. She gets along very well with other dogs, and especially with Charlie Murphy, which should come as no surprise by now. They play and play, which mostly involves Charlie laying lazily in his back or side, and Mischa zooming in circles around him, occasionally nipping at the air in Charlie's general direction.

As you saw in Monday's post, Mischa and Austin are in love. I've heard that dogs don't have a way to tell how much time has passed, and this seems especially true when she's been outside for any length of time without us (which does not happen very often). She leaps into the air like she's having hysterics and makes piggy whiny noises when we pick her up to comfort her. She comes to work with me most days, charming my coworkers, who are so patient with her.

Looks like we have a puppy.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Side One, Track One

A girl in my office is getting married. She had a shower thrown for her at her church yesterday. She is a kind and generous soul, and brought in leftover cake. It is a massive sheet cake, with roses. I had a piece for breakfast; it was guiltily delicious. As I was walking past the table with the cake earlier, I noticed the label:

Full Sheet Cake, White
Buttercreme, White

I'm sure you know the kind of cake I'm talking about. My best reference point is that this is the kind of cake we BEGGED for as children, sick of and embarrassed by our mother's homemade ("plain") cakes. My mom calls it Crisco Frosting. I would nod in enthusiastic agreement, "Yes, Crisco frosting, that's the one I want!!" And I will certainly eat said cake to this day, when it's put in front of me. But that makes me a little bit mortified, to think about my mother, who (it turns out!) doesn't like to cook, going through the elaborate processes of my grandmother's Devil's Food Cake recipe, and the next year, Ungrateful Daughter says, "I want the one from Food Lion." It also makes me a little bit weepy, how far would I travel and how many crimes would I commit for a slab of my grandmother's Devil's Food Cake, with Seven Minute Frosting, which hardened to a grainy, crispy crunch, over which she drizzled bitter chocolate.

My point is this: "Buttercreme, White."

Buttercreme, my ass. I'm sorry, is that legal? Are we honestly supposed to believe there is even a THOUGHT of actual butter in that frosting? That a real stick of real butter might have dashed past the cake on its covert journey to be creamed and sugared and labored over for an actual, honest-to-God buttercream? By spelling it "creme," are they circumventing the truth behind the "butter?" "Creme" calls up images of Little Debbies, filled doughnuts, icings on Toaster Strudels. Nobody pretends there is any real butter in any of those things. I'm far from being a political person, but I'm considering becoming a lobbyist. I will petition Congress: do not let KrogerTeeterSamsMart call this "butter-" anything. Officially.

I have so much else to talk about. The last month has been, to be completely generic, crazy. My sisters got married. Austin's brother got married. We got a puppy. A puppy! What are we thinking?! I'm sort of pursuing some sort of interesting pursuits in my sort of attempt at a sort of career/sort of future... which all involve baking. Sort of. And I want to elaborate on all of these things, and also on many others that are just creeping around at the edge of my brain. But I'm only 3/4 of the way through Harry Potter Book 5, which I want to have finished before Movie 5 opens this week, and then gotta cram Book 6 before Book 7 arrives next week (!!), and plus I have to make a fair stab at our Book Club Selection for July (Three Cups of Tea), so I really just need to crawl back under my desk and read, and tell you about the Significant Details later. I leave you with this, as proof that there is Lots to Tell: