little_tristan: (Bunny)
All the library books are read and ready to be returned. I worked out a recycling system for Murphy's little tin cans, and found a great deal on his food on Amazon. They not only have the good stuff available by the case, it's Subscribe & Save eligible. And the cases are variety packs, so I can have two sent every month and get six or seven flavors.

Murphy's definitely better in some ways. He loses his balance more than ever, but the problem isn't new. He was less than a year old when the guy we were living with sprayed him with a toxic chemical and Murphy licked a lot before I could wash it off. I don't know if it's a neurological problem or an inner ear one, but ever since then he falls over when he shakes his head. Now he falls over when he tries to groom, too. The other night he wanted to sleep on my ribs and went rolling off down my back four times before he got settled securely. I love his determination.

The good thing is that he's put on a little more weight. And the skin breakdown on his rear legs, the part kitties sit on, has reversed. The little sores are all healed over and starting to grow new fur. Even his coat, which has always been amazingly glossy, is suddenly more so.

On the subject of pretty coats, Ranger's having a good winter, too. Her prior recurring problems haven't come back, so we know the meds are working. Other winters she's been having treatment instead of preventative care, which made her fur turn dusty grey and fall out. Constantly. In ridiculous amounts. This year she's as pretty as a puppy.

Willow's being extra pretty too. I wish the light had been better in that pic the other day. It didn't really do her justice. I've been spending more time on her coat, raking the fine hair behind her ears and on the backs of her legs so it flows properly. She likes to play in water and mud. We have a lot of that in the yard right now and much of it comes inside on her legs. I don't know why it's on her head.

I woke up at one this morning needing to fix my blankets. Mark is a terrible blanket thief. But I couldn't budge them because there was a cat in between us, weighing them down. I couldn't even get my hand under the cat to reach Mark. Murphy's gained weight, but he's not that heavy. He is, however, the only cat that sleeps at the head of the bed. There are rules. I got my hand out from under the blankets to feel the cat and discovered it was Big Orange Roy. (12 years old and still 13 pounds of lean muscle and attitude.) He was so happy to be petted he stood up and started licking my hand so I got the blankets. Then he curled up on my pillow and went back to sleep.

Mark says Roy can never have Murphy's place. He'll never be Head Cat of Gilead, even if that means the post stands empty after Murphy moves on. I agree that Roy and Kenny aren't Head Cat material. But I hope he lets one of them sleep on my pillow anyway. Roy's been sleeping between our feet for a decade now. He deserves some face time. If he promises not to lick our faces while we sleep*.

I finished online Christmas shopping yesterday, and the cards I ordered arrived. They're so very cute. If you've never gotten a card from me and want one, PM with your address and I'll be happy to add you to the list. If you've gotten one before, you're already on it.:) (Except maybe [personal profile] amine_eyes, because you keep moving!)

Heather's coming over soon so I need to get writing or I won't accomplish anything today. Except for all the stuff I was doing earlier, but that hardly counts.

*He'll totally lick our faces while we sleep.
little_tristan: (Puppy Upside Down Willow)
To the best of my knowledge, [personal profile] oddmonster safe. <3

As soon as Mark and I left Thursday afternoon, Russ took Willow upstairs to eat and watch tv. Ranger stayed downstairs to patrol the house and wait for me, as is her preference. She just has to be able to watch the doors or she gets really anxious.

After about an our and a half, Will started running around whining and pawing at the bedroom door. When he wouldn't get up, she jumped on the bed and grabbed a mouthful of pants leg like Lassie when Timmy's down the well.

She pulled him off the bed--it was either get up or lose his pants--and dragged on him until she was sure he was going to follow. He let her out and she ran down the stairs, through the kitchen, and down the ramps to the library. When Russ got to the kitchen she was at the bottom of the last ramp, not barking or whining, just standing in a perfect bird dog point aimed at the backdoor. Border collies point beautifully. It's weird.

Russ went down to see if there was a possum or something out there, and what did he find? Ranger, sitting patiently on the backdoor ramp, waiting to come in. We've no idea when the arch-nemesis put her out, but Willow certainly knew when it was time to bring her back.

We're not only thrilled to finally have one of those pull-you-around-by-your-pants-leg-when-they-need-to dogs, but also one that's looking after her elderly friend. Whether Ranger appreciates it or not.

This is a picture I took of Will today. She was nervous and whiny with the boys gone (there was a floor being painted at work so they didn't think it was safe to take her). But she likes to sit in the rolling chair to be brushed. When I was done, I moved it over by my desk so she could sit up beside me and get petted without jumping while I was working. She's also learning the command "get in your seat".

little_tristan: (Ranger)
The Back Story: Ranger wears a heavy purple nylon collar with a plastic/metal squeeze clasp. Willow, who is much smaller but way more determined to dominate, likes to grab said collar and try to drag Ray around with it. Sometimes she gets hold of the clasp and unfastens it (presumably by accident, but with a Border Collie you can never be completely sure). The result is someone searching the back yard (they wrestle all day but the collar only comes off outside), recovering it, and putting it back on.

What Happened This Time: Ranger came inside yesterday evening sans collar. Mark searched the yard twice with no success. Just now I was letting the dogs out and the collar was lying at the bottom of the ramp outside the sliding door, on the floor of the shop. Now, since he walked right by there 4 times yesterday, and I checked the shop itself twice, that means it wasn't there last night. One of the dogs must've picked it up in the yard earlier this morning and left it there when they came inside.

The Question: Do dogs think about their collars, and if they do, what do they think? Do they regard these colorful bits of nylon as theirs, something that belongs to, or is a part of, them? I could see that, since the collars smell strongly of the dogs that wear them. But at the same time, they come off. And they can be resisted. Still, dogs favor their own things, so Ranger could have brought it to the door because it's hers.

The other option is that the dogs see the collars as belonging to us. Something that we put on them for reasons of our own and that they respect because they (the collars) aren't particularly annoying. A cat will get annoyed and pull one off as a matter of principle, but I've never seen a dog do that. In this case, whichever dog returned it to the shop could be thought of as returning it to me.

I suspect the most likely answer is that they were playing with it, keep away or tug of war or something, and one of them just incidentally carried it as far as the ramp before getting bored. Or dropping it in the excitement of getting back in the house. But I'm curious if anyone else has thought about this at all.
little_tristan: (BtVS Spike Sod Off)
I'm completely failing at my enlightened approach to be nicer to Captain Senility. I was moderately failing before, but then I so generously killed an entire Friday setting up a computer for him (which felt oddly like deleting my life so he could replace it with the yawning emptiness that is his own), and that earned me some points. It's like collecting indulgences so I can get to heaven.

But today we're screaming at each other again and I am awash with hate and rage. Why? )

I'm going to make popcorn and watch horror movies now. It's fun to fantasize about being a vengeful ghost.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
The vet just called. She sent Ranger's x-rays to a radiologist for a second opinion, just to be sure she wasn't missing anything. The radiologist reported back today that she has arthritis like we thought, except in her elbows. There's some arthritis, but it's really elbow dysplasia. The care is the same, rest and pain meds, purely palliative, but I'm grateful for the diagnosis for one major reason.

Dysplasia, for anyone who doesn't know, is when bones fail to come together properly in their respective joints. It happens before birth, when the fetal puppy is forming. So, call me selfish, but that means it's not my fault. Several years ago, when she was only two or three, another doctor asked me when her left foreleg had been broken and who set it, because her foot turned out funny, as if the bone was crooked. I said no one had set it, I had no idea it had even been broken. Shame-wise, that was one of the top five worst moments of my life.

All these years I've believed that I broke it one of the times I ran over her with my chair when she was puppy and somehow never noticed. It's haunted me, I swear to dog. But now I know better. That joint is such a mess, they couldn't make her paw point forward with steel plates and a year of traction. And it's nobody's fault. It's just who she is. I still get to feel bad for working her all these years, but now that she's retired, I think she thinks she had a good time. Ranger pretty much always has a good time.
little_tristan: (Ranger & Kenny)

Found on FaceBook: Lily lost his sight five years ago and was adopted by Madison, who acts as his guide dog. Possibly the coolest thing I've seen all week.
little_tristan: (Volcano)
But I'm feeling a little jerked around today. We scheduled Ranger's overnight stay last Friday, and then today the receptionist, the same one who did the scheduling, called to say it wouldn't work. They have surgery on Tuesdays so the schedule will be packed, and the male tech they'll need to lift her won't be there, so now we're supposed to leave her on Wednesday and pick her up Thursday. (Thursday being a really bad fucking day this week, which I told her, but whatever. That's my problem.)

The thing is, Tuesday is always surgery day, and Gerald's schedule is the same every week, so why the hell did she plan it this way in the first place? If we'd just started out with Wednesday, I could have had a good weekend, at least.

I know everyone needs time off, but I wish the good receptionist could be there every day.
little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
For everyone who was worried about Ms. Puppenstuff, she's made a full recovery. Apparently peanut butter tummy aches are a 24 hour affliction. Thanks for all your advice and good wishes. We'll be more careful going forward.:)

little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
Willow loves the Kong peanut butter stuffing and I give it to her daily, packed into her Kong toys to keep her busy for a few minutes here and there. But it costs a bloody fortune and I just ran out, so yesterday I put actual people peanut butter in her Kong. Quite a lot of it, in fact. She snarfed it right out and then chewed Kong for another half hour to make sure she'd gotten every speck. It was real cute.

But then she was apparently up all night shitting giant puddles of stink in Bruder's room while he slept. She still isn't herself--she drinks but won't eat, doesn't want to wrestle Ranger, isn't jumping much, and never once attacked my feet. But the crapping seems to have stopped. Right now she's sleeping in her crate.

I convinced Bruder it was the peanut butter, which was probably too rich and sugary for her little puppy tummy. But I don't know--I've never seen it before. Has anyone else done this? Can peanut butter make dogs sick like that?
little_tristan: (Roy Tongue)
Okay, I've been compiling this gradually, a few lines a day, because I've been so lonely since the incident. Somehow I hadn't realized that not being able to type would cut me off so completely from humanity. Except for my cousin, who calls once in a while, and the boys, who spend ten or fifteen minutes a day with me (talking about work). It's been distressing, to say the least.

So what's new? Um, I've switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox for better web browsing. More or less. It has some minor flaws, but nothing like I was getting from IE9. It wasn't just that whole spending six hours trying to upload my book cover (which turned out to be a ten minute job), it also wasn't letting me reply to comments on AO3. And that was sad, because I didn't want people thinking I was ignoring them, but every time I clicked reply, it jumped from the page with the comment I wanted to reply to back to the first page where I could only leave a new comment. And when I tried that, in case it would magically apply it to the right page, I ended up making a new comment on the first chapter of my own fic, and then I couldn't delete it. There was a delete button, but the confirmation button flashed by so fast as to be unclickable. So Firefox solved that. Although it did allow a bunch of ads on my FaceBook page that I've never seen before. I found an add-on for that. I need more add-ons, but there's time. I'll find them.
Sad Mom stuff... )
Kenny Stuff )
Cat and Dog Stuff )
Random Dream and Book Stuff )
Monday Sucked )

Now my biggest irritation is suddenly having a plot bunny and no way to write it.
little_tristan: (Firefly Bright Kaylee)
Good things that are happening: Willow is a month away from being an official dog! We consider 6 months to be a dog, since that's when she'll be spayed, get her rabies vaccine, and be licensed with the county. We're all very relieved to have gotten her through the delicate puppy months, and today she's going to the dog park for the first time. I'll try to get pictures. She doesn't often hold still anymore, but we have a new highspeed camera. Here's a foretaste, with Ranger... )

Last weekend we celebrated Sister's birthday with a Hello Kitty cake, baked by Bruder and decorated (under my supervision, of course) by Cousin H, who also delivered. That, I got a picture of. )

Yesterday I got the information packet on my new sponsored child. [ profile] barancoire will be glad to know they gave me a girl this time--Veronica, of Kenya. She's not quite 12, so we should have many years to get to know each other.

Also last weekend, we solved our major fuel crisis. The boys were spending nearly $400 a month on gas to drive back and forth to work in either the F-150 or the Econoline, and after two years, we'd had quite enough of it. So we've been looking for a Volkswagen diesel pickup--one of the old ones from the early 80s that gets 45 mpg and runs forever. Then when Cousin H was driving me home from Sister's, we just happened to spot one parked on the street with a for sale sign in the windshield. She got the phone number, and long story short, we went back the next day and bought it. (There's actually kind of a funny story there where the three of us were trying to figure out how to get the cash on a Saturday afternoon in a town that doesn't even have a branch of our bank, and ended up at a foreign ATM using all three of our cards to withdraw the maximum amount allowed on each. Luckily he took a check for the rest, so we didn't have to go back.:)

So the boys have been driving it all week and couldn't be happier. Well, the radio doesn't work, and the glass fell out of the passenger side wing window when Bruder tried to open it, and shattered all over the highway. But you have to expect these little difficulties with second (or third or tenth) hand cars. The important thing is they've driven it all week on one tank of diesel, and it has an electric oil pan heater to help get it started in the winter. Last pic, I promise... )

Also, after absolutely wallowing in Marian Call songs and Firefly eps all week, I think I need to write a fic. I never expected to, but it might happen.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
This is actual security camera footage. The dog's name is Paco, and he's generally very well mannered. I saw him interviewed on tv, too, and he couldn't have been nicer. Now if I can just get the old man to watch it...

little_tristan: (Ranger)
Yesterday I got into all kinds of trouble when the old man found out I've been leaving the back door unlocked during the day. I go in and out a lot and the latch is kind of a bitch. You know how it is. True, there have been a lot of robberies in the area lately (20 in the last month!), and they all involve unlocked doors, but only between the hours of 1 and 4 in the morning. Which is when our house is waking up, and we lock the doors at night anyway. I explained all that (and wasn't he disappointed that I had heard the facts already), and that there's too much activity here for daytime burglars. Too many cars out front, too many voices inside, not to mention his radio cranked up so you can hear it across the street and down the block, and him standing in the window in his underwear all day. We're just bad targets.

When I added that, besides, no one wants to mess with my dog, he had what he must've thought was the final answer. He said all it would take was a pellet gun. He told me that when he lived in Albuquerque, someone broke into his trailer, killed his white German Shepherd with a pellet gun and stole everything in the place. I stuck to my theory in spite of that (he wasn't home, Albuquerque is a cesspool, our retired neighbors are outside all day and crime on the block is way down), but he wasn't having it.

Now here's what's interesting about his little dog story. It's. Not. True. I told the boys about it this morning and both of them were stunned by the length and breadth of the lie. He never lived in a trailer in Albq, and he never owned any such dog. The boys had a white Shepherd when they were kids in Texas, living with their mom, but he never did. And all his years in Albq, he lived in a motel that was essentially a concrete fortress. Bruder had a room there for a while to run his business out of, just because it was so impossible to break into.

So this is what we've come to. He's making up dead dogs to try to scare me into thinking someone will kill MY dog, so he can have his way about something that doesn't matter.
little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
I'm still trying to house train Willow and she's throwing me some weird curves. She really seems to think she's supposed to crap in the house. When it comes to peeing, she knows it's good to do it outside, but not that it's bad to do it inside. The books and websites all say to reward her for doing it outside while ignoring her when she does it inside, so I'm doing that. It's slow going, but I'm trying.

The problem is, when I take her outside, she won't poop. In two and a half months, I've seen her do it maybe three times, and despite all the praise and rewards, she still acts like she thinks she's doing something wrong. (Frankly, this is the only thing that she seems to be ashamed of. Things that are actually wrong, that she knows are wrong, she does freely and cheerfully in front of us every chance she gets.) Today I took her out and left the back door open like usual, because opening and closing it is a bit of a strain. She peed, played with Ranger for a while, ran back inside to crap on the floor, and then went out to play some more. What am I supposed to do with that? Other than closing the door, which just causes her hold it until we eventually go inside.
little_tristan: (Riptide Murray's Bad Day)
I'm swiftly losing my mind living with an idiotic old man who shouts normal conversations and SHRIEKS when he wants to raise his voice. And he shrieks often. Why? Because he feels it's his duty to constantly scream at the dogs to shut up without any regard whatsoever for why they're barking. And the noise makes Willow bark more, so there's a vicious circle in hell right there. Sometimes he'll wait as long as fifteen seconds after she's stopped barking before yelling at her to shut up, which of course makes her bark again.

But usually? There's something to bark at. And he never bothers to find out what it is, just stands there with his back to the dogs, or even in another room, screaming at them to shut up. Meanwhile, UPS men knock on the door, mail gets delivered, cars pull into the driveway, neighbors pop over to ask if we've seen their cats--all things that dogs are supposed to bark about so that we know something's happening. Sometimes it's not even that. Right now he's shouting and cursing because the girls were wrestling and Willow, who is, after all, only 4 months old, got so excited she let out a little puppy yap. No doggy sound is too reasonable, or insignificant, to escape the nemesis' demented orders to STFU. And no logic is obvious enough to convince him that he's only making it worse.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
I went downtown for the first time since I got the new chair. I think I like it better outside than I do inside. It's a really smooth ride, for some reason. Herr says it's the pneumatic tires (which it's not supposed to have, but they screwed up), but the old chair also had them (the solid inserts were discontinued for that model), so I don't think that's it. Maybe it has better shocks or something. Anyway, it handles the bumps really well, which makes me understand why Medicare got all bent about indoor chairs (medically necessary) and outdoor chairs (extravagance for the wealthy). Maybe there really is a difference now. Anyway, I got Bruder's prescription and a celebratory bottle of sparkly purple nail polish.

I'm working on a new Riptide/Emergency! fic in the current series, which has been trending toward sad. Only 1-3 have been posted, but I'm working on #8 now (there were supposed to be 8, but now I think 9 or 10) and it got sad in #7. So #8 is happy in spite of sad, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how easily the happy is coming. I might actually call it Sunshine and Unicorns. That's not a joke. It would actually relate to the story.:D

The mail brought my It's okay to be Takei button, which I'd just about given up on. I put it on my hat and can't wait to wear it out in public. Which might be tomorrow when I take Ranger to the vet for her butt-check. She's still healing nicely, so far as I know, but we need more pills.

We also got Willow's registration certificate, making her an official puppy, I guess. I don't see a whole lot of value in it, but it's cute and she deserves some recognition. The boys really wanted to do it, anyway, just because we've never had a papered dog before. Ranger and Doodle could have been, but I never followed through. It was enough to know they had the lineage without spending the money to prove it. But Wills' lists her parents' names, and I guess I'd have liked that for Ray. I met her folks, but we weren't formally introduced.

I need to start posting pics of Willow again. She's growing so fast! She doesn't really look like a puppy anymore. She looks like a small dog, with her elongating muzzle and perky ears. She does the drops and stalking moves like a Border Collie, although it's mostly Ray she's trying to herd. Obviously, she's not having much luck at it, but her moves are beautiful. I can't wait to see what she's like when her legs are long enough to actually keep up with Ray. They're going to have so much fun.
little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
For a while now, Willow's been working toward going outside to do her puppy thing. This means she pees in the kitchen and craps in the library, right outside the arch-nemesis' bedroom door. Of all the square footage in the library, that's her spot. Right in front of his door. It amuses me a little. Especially on days when he steps in it. (I know it's mean, but come on. I don't have much.)

Today he was extra mad, though. So he came up with a brilliant plan: Since the weather's getting better, we can just leave the back door open all day. After all, she's doing it in the library because she thinks she's outside. (Where we keep the rest of the books? I don't know.)

Because I never tire of shouting the same things over and over to a senile egotist who's never actually listened to a female in his life about anything anyway, I reminded him about the holes in the fence, the vast number of things in the patio workshop that a busy puppy could use to commit suicide (am I the only one who remembers Doodle?), and the fact that she can still squeeze under the gate to freedom. But it all fell on (literally) deaf ears. Every once in a while he wanders back in to share more reasons why she'd be fine outside. None of it makes sense. In between the words to and share, he came in and made me open a case of tp for him. When I was done ripping cardboard, he pointed to Willow and said, "I think she's getting bigger". She's more than doubled in size over the last month, but he still says these things (daily!) as if they were profound statements on world events. A totally new take on global warming, perhaps.

I acknowledged that she has, indeed, gotten bigger. To which he responded, "She'll make it." WTF does that even mean? She'll make it where? Under the gate and into the street? Or is he suggesting that her having gone from 9 pounds to 22 means she's now big and strong enough to survive his completely insane plans to minimize his inconvenience? Or perhaps he's determined, based on the fact that I closely observe her outside nine times a day and he ignores her completely unless she's barking, that she's too big to escape the yard. I'll never know. I put up a baby gate to keep her from going down there at all. And if cleaning up after a puppy on an unfinished wood floor is nearly impossible, while the library floor is tile (TILE!), that's not his problem.

And the other day, I figured out why. Whenever someone comments on one of our dogs, Bruder always puts on his Dr. Know-It-All voice and proclaims, "I've had dogs all my life". I don't know what information this is really meant to convey (I've had dogs all my life, so that's why I let my sister-in-law raise and train them for me now?), but being a child of a very traditional family (which always had dogs--I just don't feel the need to announce it to everyone I meet on a daily basis), I inferred incorrectly that this meant his father had dogs. But I forgot the real history. The a-n's wife took the kids and left him when Bruder was about 4 years old. After that, the boys spent vacations with their dad some years, for some holidays, but they lived with their mom. She had dogs. The old man did not. He lived with a dog for a while when the boys were with him as adults, but the dog was also grown.

He's never had a puppy in his life.

That makes me sad for him. Yet glad for all of puppy-kind.
little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
As does Ranger. This is a real battle wills, little puppy against Big Funny Puppy. Who's the winner? You be the judge.

little_tristan: (BtVS Buffy and Willow)
Usually when someone dies, I see them around for a while. Our Whiskey cat hung around the house for a couple years, lurking in hallways and under the bed, being a little gray shadow. But Doodle went away clean, so I thought it maybe had ended. Maybe the dead were finally leaving me alone. But last Wednesday, I was in the bathroom washing my hands and I heard my mother calling my name. That was odd.

Today I gave Ranger her pills and went to wash the dog slobber off my hands, and this time it was Doc, barking down in the library. Herr's always thought it was weird how I could recognize our dogs' barks, like when I'd wake him in the middle of the night to tell him they were outside, and he'd think it was the neighbor's dogs. But when he checked, sure enough, the back door would be open and they'd be out there running around, barking like fools. I always know my dogs. And she was clearly inside this morning because her bark had the echoing quality that it gets from the tiles in the library.

Although I suppose there are worse things than hallucinations. The way I only hear them in the bathroom sort of reminds me of the drains in IT. Underground spiders of pure evil controlling the city would be worse than whatever mental defect I happen to have.

Mom sounded pretty good, though.


little_tristan: (Default)

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