Archive for August, 2008

The Politics of a Cold

So I’ve been laid out all week with some sort of a terrible cold.  Is ‘exploding ass’ and ‘projectile vomiting’ part of a cold, usually?  It’s like two terribly different, terribly TERRIBLE illnesses just sort of mashed up together in some sort of illness casserole and I ate it up like it was a delicious bowl of jello.  Actually, speaking of Jello, I ought to be eating some of that shit because I can’t seem to eat anything else without it running in one direction or the other to get out of my body!

My biggest meal in the past week has been the burrito I consumed after a lot of careful thought today at lunch.  Why the careful thought, you ask?  Because I am sure it’s going to spray it’s way out of me later today.  I figure it’s better to at least try and absorb some sort of nutrients from a food I like instead of eating chicken noodle soup at every meal.  Though I am pretty sure that Lipton’s chicken noodle soup contains absolutely nothing that resembles chicken.  I mean, it’s neon green for Pete’s sake!  I know this because I spilt some on my carpet earlier in the week and spent 20 minutes Bissel-ing the hell out of the rug to get the radioactive soup stain out of my life.  It probably only took 20 minutes because I was keeled over weakly rubbing the scrubber back and forth and a very slow pace.

It took me a good 5 days before I actually stopped feeling guilty about being sick and actually laid down for the whole day.  I didn’t try to tidy.  I didn’t even try to watch a full episode of one of the 150 court TV shows that seem to be on ALL. DAY. LONG.  How glorious it was to just sleep all day.  I wish I had a week off to do that without all the coughing and the sore throat!  I guess that’s why they call it being sick and not, say, a vacation!  Yeah, you can have 3 days off, but you’re going to have to pay with some sort of stomach/head infection combo!  TAKE THAT!

My poor abdomen feels like a wet balloon filled with half-eaten ribs.  I always forget about this part of being sick.  Normally I can avoid it with cough drops, but I’ve been advised to avoid any medicine other than vitamin C, as everything else will make me yak.  I guess I should get in the tub or something?  Does humidity help a cough?  Or does it make it worse?  Perhaps I ought to just stand outside in some of this glorious Vancouver rain and just soak it in.

It really takes coming to work to realize that you shouldn’t have come to work.

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I am going to smash that ice cream treat right in your face.

I like to sit on one of my legs most of the time at my desk.  An old boss kept saying, “don’t do that, it’s not good for you!” to which I said, “you shut your dirty mouth!”  No, I didn’t say that.  I moved off my leg.  But damnit, I can only sit in that perfect at-your-desk position for so long!  

I happen to be wearing green patent flats today, which is important to note for the purposes of both fashion AND what I’m about to explain.

Really, there’s only so long I can sit at my desk and not move, so even if I sit on my leg, I need to eventually go back to the standard way of sitting.  So I usually am able to just slide my foot out from under my other leg and put it on the ground.  Except that today, because my shoes are made from patent, and because I sit in an imitation leather chair, and because I am in the office with only one other dude, my shoe happens to make a sound exactly like a grotesque fart.

 

So basically that happened like 2 minutes ago, and I was so shocked by the sound, that I just dragged my shoe across the chair in hopes that it would just make more squeaks so that I didn’t sound like I was going to have a burst of explosive diarrhea! 

Aaaand I didn’t want to directly address the awful noise I made, because my co-worker isn’t terribly talkative….

So that’s my afternoon, in a nutshell!

On another front, I was walking Zelda last night and everything was fine until she saw some Lassie sort of dog and started to make little “I am going to go apeshit in 10 seconds” noises as we passed the dog, and so I just kept on walking briskly, and then the woman walking the dog was like, “Aww, what’s wrong with your dog?”

“She got attacked by a lab at a dog park, so I am doing rehabilitation work.”

And as I am trying to walk away, she edges her hand towards Zelda, expecting me to walk over to her and let her pet Zelda and “make it all better.”

“Sorry, I’m doing rehabilitation work, I’ve got to be moving on.”

and I speed walk away.  But seriously, I can sort of see why someone would want to pet Zelda as she’s making those noises, but when I TELL YOU that I am doing rehabilitation work, why would you think I’d walk right up to you, and the dog that my dog is starting to freak out at?  Do you think my dog will just “calm down?” if she gets to smell your dog?  Um, and did I mention that this woman’s dog BARKED at Zelda, thus beginning a louder squealing process?

“Oh yeah, I can see that your dog clearly doesn’t want my dog near it, so sure I’ll just come right over and talk to you about what a poor dog my dog must be, and that because she’s making all this noise I am a terrible dog person.  In fact, why don’t I just bark in YOUR face and see how you react?  Or maybe I’ll just scream in your face in short bursts so you can see what it’s like for my dog to see other dogs.

Fuuuuuuuck.  It’s like sometimes you don’t even bother because some people can be pretty stupid, but then other times I kind of go, “Seriously?!  Is this how people think?!  I am going to slap every stranger I see.”

Or maybe I should just slap other stupid dog owners?  Like every time someone wants to pet Zelda when she is barking I will just smack them across their face.  Or maybe just like put my palm against their nose and puuuuuuush them away.

“SORRY, NO DOG PETTING.”

I ought to take up walking the pugs at like midnight so I don’t have to deal with other dogs.  Damnit!

Le Pug Meme

Like a lot of the pug owners out there, I have been tagged to complete this delightful pug meme.

Enjoy!

1) How did you first learn about Pugs?

I think that I first learned about pugs from my friend Steve (not the bf). He would tell me stories in college about his pug named Tori (aka. The Notorious P.U.G.).  Before that I maybe only really noticed Frank the Pug in Men in Black.

2)  What made you get a Pug?

I found out I was allowed to get a dog in my last apartment and IMMEDIATELY I wanted a pug.  I never even considered another dog.  They have the best faces!  And who doesn’t love a pug?!  I’ll tell you who: BAD PEOPLE, JERKS, and IDIOTS!  A friend told me not to get one, that they were pretty sassy, but I wanted one anyway.  In retrospect, yes, pugs are sassy sometimes, but all of the love and joy they bring make up for anything maybe not-so-nice that they do.

3) Most memorable moment with your Pug (s).

Zelda: I’d say the most memorable moment with Zelda is when we went to pick her up.  It was winter and it was super cold out.  We drove about 45 min across town to go get her from the friend of the breeder who had brought her into town (she lived near Edmonton).  When the little girl brought Zelda to the door she was SOOOOO WITTLE!  She was 2.5 pounds and was sooooo stinky!  I almost died when I saw her because she was so little and cute and oh my goodness, I want to cry just thinking about it!

Winston:

Winston used to really like to eat cat poop out of the cat’s litter box.  At first we thought it was sort of funny, but then he started to get really bad gas.  It was like gas to the second power because the poop air had already been in the cat’s butt, and now it was passing through Winston.  One night we had a living room full of people over for video games or something.  Winston was cuddling with some of our friends on the sofa when he let out the most horrendous silent but deadly fart that the world has ever known.  The smell of it was SO bad that one of our friends actually left because they couldn’t handle the smell!

4)  What is the most important thing Pugs (or dogs) have taught you

PATIENCE.  Oh Lord, patience.  But that’s good.

5)  Best Thing You Ever Did For Your Pugs….aside from loving them, keeping them healthy & happy, and giving them a great life

I’m going to go with the Dog Whisperer lady!  Oh man, I am seriously loving walks with the pugs now.  It used to be pretty stressful, but over the past week it has been a real pleasure to walk them.  I don’t know that I’ll be able to walk them together for a while (while by myself) but I know that the advice I got from this woman will be the best thing I’ve done for my little puggies.

There’s nothing I can do

Tonight is one of the few times I’ve wanted to punch out a complete stranger.

After maybe 10 minutes of training with the dogs in the lobby of the building, I take them out into the park in front of my apartment building, which is basically just a cement area. Good training ground, no?

And they were doing SO good. Listening to commands. Sitting. Turning when I turned.

And then the shit hit the fan.

While I am working with the dogs, this woman comes by with her fluff dog (I have no idea what kind of dog it was). I think, okay, she’ll pass by, as my dogs are sitting really nicely. But no. She stops. And my dogs turn and see this dog. And smell the dog, and then Zelda starts barking. At this point I say, “okay, this is nice, but I am training my dogs and you need to move along and get out of here because my dog has been attacked and I am working with her.” To which this lady kind of giggles and stands there with her dog.

Then Zelda starts screaming.

“SERIOUSLY, YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE.”

She doesn’t move.

I say the same thing about 10 times. She doesn’t move.

At this point Zelda is FLIPPING OUT, Winston is trying to get to this other dog and slips out of his harness.

“GET OUT OF HERE! SERIOUSLY! YOU ARE SCARING MY DOGS. THEY DON’T LIKE OTHER DOGS!”

I am basically saying anything to get her to go away. She doesn’t go. SHE KEEPS STANDING THERE AND LAUGHS A LITTLE LAUGH WHILE WINSTON CHASES HER DOG AND ZELDA SCREAMS.

I manage to corall Winston and sit on him (gently, don’t worry) and I am aaaaalmost screaming at this woman, “GET OUT OF HERE!” while waving my hands in an away motion. Now you might think, why didn’t *I* get out of there? Well because my dogs are flipping out and one of them is out of his harness and I can’t move because I am sitting on my dog, and it basically took 10 seconds for Zelda to go from calm to apeshit scared.

I can’t believe that just happened. I wanted to just shove this woman over. She clearly didn’t speak English AT ALL, so the whole time I am motioning “AWAY!!! AWAY!!!!!!!!!” and she DOESN’T GET IT.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. Not only is it embarassing, it’s EXTREMELY stressful for the dogs, and I couldn’t help them because this woman WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE.

I want to scream, myself now! I’m just thinking, WHAT ELSE COULD I HAVE DONE?! I don’t think I could have done anything else and not ended up shoving this woman away from me. And what’s worse is that if it were someone who understood english, it would have been fine, but somehow the one person walking there dog by me happens to not speak a WORD.

I need to go punch my bed.

Anything you can do, I can do stinkier.

 

This city stinks, as in smells really bad.

I can’t get over how bad some parts of downtown Vancouver smell.  Some of the things I’ve smelled I can’t even figure out because they are these grotesque combinations of so many repulsive smells that it’s hard to even decipher.  You might be asking why I even try to decipher the smells, but really there’s nothing else I CAN do while walking through these wafts of Hell.

Yesterday when I walked to work I’d say about 80% of the time I was trying not to breathe too deeply so that I didn’t inhale too much garbage/poop smell. But really?  Talking about poop smells isn’t that fun, so I shall move to other things.

It’s raining today, which is like a frigging MIRACLE to me.  I want to go dance in the rain.  This is like OPTIMUM temperature now for me.  I can walk home without wanting to die in a pool of sweat, and I can actually sleep with a blanket!  Bring on the blankets and the sweaters!  Maybe I can even start up knitting if it goes cold out here!  I tried knitting in heat and it was really a NO GO.  The thought of touching wool was making me ill!

Also?  The sammich I am eating is gross.  Though, a lot of food is gross to me right now.  It’s because of the meds, so I am basically trying to cram a titload of food into my system so that I don’t, you know, DIE of starvation.  I think I was up at around midnight on the weekend thinking, “what did I eat today?” and I basically had only eaten one burrito and some crackers and cheese.  It wasn’t even a fancy burrito, it was just a crappy frozen one!  I was like, hmm, I’ve eaten like 500 calories….no wonder I feel like ASS.  I’ve managed to lose 2 pounds though, so I dunno, that’s pretty cool.  I put on some shorts from last year that were tight at the beginning of the summer, and I’m all like, “Heeeey, check it out, there’s space in my shorts for a hamburger!”  

I’m currently trying to figure out how to actually grocery shop effectively.  I think they should teach you this in school, because frankly my grocery shopping varies so much that in one go I can spend like $190, but at the end of two weeks there’s like ZERO food in the apartment.  I can’t even tell if that’s a lot of money for 2 weeks for 2 people?  Is it?  Shit.  I have no idea.  I’m going to try and up the “super good for you” veggies, and maybe even pick up a veggie cookbook or something.

I read an article on the BBC or MSN or some other acronym website I can’t remember  that was talking about being able to eat vegan for $7 a day, to which I basically spat at my computer.  How is that possible?!  I read on and they explained a week of meals, some of which said that you should eat eggs and potatoes for lunch.  WHAT?  Eggs and potatoes?!  What kind of a shit-ass lunch is that?!  And when do you put eggs and potatoes together, except at breakfast?!  And HOW do I take eggs and potatoes to work for lunch?!  Am I supposed to scramble an egg and like, boil a potato?  That sounds like a TERRIBLE lunch.  I think they should have titled the article “How to eat really plain food and have no fun on $7 a day.”

Put some butter on me and watch me fry!

I am pretty sure I am a vampire.

It’s maybe 20 degrees right now and I want to die.  I think it’s likely the anticipation that it’s going to burn up to like 34 degrees today, and I just can’t deal with that.  When it’s that hot I don’t even know what to do with myself. I want to die pretty much all day long.  I can’t go out in the sun because I am so terribly pale, if I do I will burn up.  Or get sun stroke.  Or just melt into a pile of clothing and shoes.

My head is pounding already with the terrible anticipation of how extremely hot it gets in the building I work in when it is remotely nice out.  I work inside of a “heritage building”, which in plain terms means, “don’t you dare hang any kind of A/C unit out the window and make this building look at all modern!!!”  And so, we have about 8 fans going, which, as Steve so eloquently put it, makes it more like a convection oven, and less like a wonderful tropical paradise.

Watching your dogs overheat is also pretty shitty.  They’re just pacing and panting and you’re letting them lick ice cubes and sitting them in front of a fan, but they are still hot.  WHERE IS MY COLD, RAINY WEATHER, VANCOUVER?!

In anticipation of the extremely hot temperatures this weekend, I plan on sitting in the ocean all weekend.  I don’t care if I am sitting on a large amount of gravel or rocks or anything.  I will sit on someone’s sprinkler if I have to, and not just because it feels good!

I’m wondering if I should maybe shell out the cash for one of those cooling mats for dogs? I think you put them in the freezer and then roll it out for the dog and then the dog is all like, “HELLS YES.” and lays on it and is all cool.  I’m just wondering how many more days will be so terribly hot that the dogs will be uncomfortable?  It’s supposed to get down to 17 by monday, so maybe I should just wait?

Maybe I should just sit in the tub with the pugs all weekend.  Island bathroom party, woo!

But wait, look at this fantastic, dare I say, GORGEOUS product I’ve found on the internet:

 

I’m buying one of those bandanas for everyone I know.

What do you do to stay cool in the heat?

Doggy Deal of the Century

Since a few of you had questions in the comments section about this magical trainer of wonder and delight, I thought I’d make a post about it, just so you get the information, and can find it again!

 

So basically I think someone  just happened to be talking about the all-magical Cesar Milan, and how he was on Oprah and was totally bitchin’ with dogs and used a lot of positive reinforcement to get the dogs to listen.  So cut to me buying The Dog Whisperer book by Cesar Milan, and then ordering the DVD of Season 1.  In short, I love Cesar Milan, but I don’t know that watching his show will help if you have a specific problem, because I think each dog is different, and I can tell you from experience now that it is a completely different thing having someone come into your home and see your dogs going nuts than it is to watch a DVD and then try some training.  Also, I am not entirely sure what The Dog Whisperer book by Cesar Milan is trying to accomplish?  Basically I didn’t even finish the book because you learn everything that he says in the book in Season 1 of his show.  I don’t think I learned anything new by reading (most) of that book.  

 

Then I thought, okay, if there’s a Cesar Milan, there’s got to be dog trainers that are like him that solve specific behavior issues.  So I went to my trusty friend the internet!  I am a google fanatic, and (if I may say so) I am pretty good at finding information through the internet.  The first time I looked I think I was in Calgary, so I was googling “dog training Calgary” and “Personal dog training Calgary” and “dog daycare calgary” and sometimes if you go to google maps and just write “dog, city, state/province” you can get businesses related to dogs to pop up on the map view.

 

I believe the first site I came across was Bark Busters.  They come highly recommended and have a really good reputation.  They are also available in many cities, so they are easy to contact.  So I think I contacted the Calgary Bark Busters and got a quote, but by that time I was thinking about moving, so it wasn’t a top priority on my list.  Then we moved, and moving to a huge city kind of takes up a lot of your time, Anyhow, a variety of things led me to keep the dog training thing in my mind, but I wasn’t getting around to it.  So I checked books and magazines to see if I  could maybe avoid the cost of paying someone an arm and a leg to come see the dogs, but really, I didn’t find anything effective.  That’s sort of something I think that might just be me, because I’ve used other tactics from books to train the dogs and they’ve worked fine for doing things like teaching the dogs how to hi-five me and other glamorous and exciting tricks.

 

Winston’s barking became enough that I thought it was time to look up a trainer again.  So I looked up ‘Vancouver dog training’ and other similar terms and again Bark Busters came up.  I found the Vancouver address and emailed them to get a quote.  This is the place, that after tax, would cost $1,100 for both dogs.  Clearly this is out of my price range, so I had to decline.  The woman I talked to was generous enough to offer me last year’s rate, bringing the cost to something like $750, but that’s a large chunk to pay out all at once, so clearly I couldn’t go with that place.  I’m not saying that these people wouldn’t do a great job, as I would have hired them if I had the money.  What they do is come for an evaluation and watch you with your dog, then they make suggestions, followed by training and a lot of follow-up, and that price is the full price for your dog for life, so if you ever have any questions about your dogs behavior through it’s entire life, you are covered.  I think that’s a really wonderful offer, because you’re looking at say 12-14 YEARS of coverage, and who knows what will happen in that time.  I should also point out that $1,100 is the cost for TWO dogs for life.  I think that one is like $700?  You know, just in case you have the cash to spend.

 

Then I figured it was time to maybe shop around and get quotes from like 4 more places before I actually make a decision (as I was contemplating saving the money for Bark Busters).  I emailed a dog training place in Vancouver who referred me to Hot Diggity Dogs (which is the one I went with).  I explained my situation and the things I’d need help with, and she (eventually, I think it took maybe a week or two as she lost my email) got back to me with a price and let me know that depending on how well the dogs respond, that I might need 2 or three sessions.  Anyway, this woman (Donna) quoted $75 a session (not based on # of dogs) plus tax.  So, HELLO, MUCH CHEAPER!  I checked the website and her accreditation and whatnot and decided that even if she maybe didn’t help me too much, that really I was only out $75, which in dog cost terms, is like a trip to the vet.

 

So on Monday she came to my house and watched the dogs for a bit, and then we worked for about 2 hours on various issues that the dogs have and then we took the pugs outside so that she could see Zelda flip out at another dog (as she’s done to large dogs ever since she got attacked last year by a lab).  That was probably the worst part, as I am standing with two dogs that are both SCREAMING at the trainer’s black lab, but in reality, she needed to see what I go through to know how to help me help them.  Plus, that was probably one of the last times I will have to be in an embarrassing situation like that, which is a relief!

 

It’s not all a quick fix, as I clearly am going to need a few months of training with the dogs every day to get them properly trained for what I need them to be doing/not doing, but I knew that going in.  It’s the real life tips that will save my sanity, and have been doing so over the past few days!

 

I am happy to report that Winston’s barking just in the past say, 24 hours has reduced by about 75% just using the tips she told me.  We’ve also gone from both dogs tugging the hell out of their leashes to really ZERO with Winston and just a little with Zelda (as she has a fear of manholes that we’re working on).  Winston was the bigger problem though because he would be SO EXTREMELY EXCITED that he would just tug and tug and even though he’s just a pug, he is a little tank of a dog (as Donna put it), and he can still pull with enough force that it becomes difficult to walk him at all.

 

I’d say if you have tried things like books and videos and they aren’t helping, that seeking out some help is a great idea.  Shop around!  The second place I contacted USED to do in-home training and help, but they stopped, so they suggested Hot Diggity Dogs to me.  People in the “dog business” are usually all connected through the conferences and such, so you may want to just try calling a recommended dog training facility/school/daycare and see if they know someone who could come to your house and help you with your dog(s).  I found that most of the dog training places also stated that they did private lessons and at-home lessons, so I think it’s all a matter of just asking the place if they can do what you need.  If they can’t, they will likely know someone who does.  Once you’ve got a few quotes along with an understanding of what you will receive as far as training/write-ups/reccomendations and reading material suggestions, then you can make a good decision about what will fit your budget/needs.  I managed to find someone who came to my house, worked with me for 2 hours, listened to all of my concerns, made suggestions and showed me “how to” do all of the things she was suggesting, and also left me a folder with several articles and suggestions of reading materials/harnesses/leashes/treats as well as her contact info in case I have further questions.  She is also going to contact me next week as a follow-up to see how the dogs and I are doing, and all of that came to $75.

 

I’m sure the great deals are out there for other provinces/states, you just have to dig a little to find ’em!

 

Good luck!


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