Monday, September 29, 2008

The way to a man's heart

Out of love for my husband (and probably guilt, too, due to the fact that I don't work a full 40 and I only pay three small bills), I prepared his lunch this evening.

I've been thinking of buying a large bento box (the Mr. Bento lunchbox, to be specific) for him to take to work. It's basically an insulated lunchbox with smaller boxes piled inside. You heat up or cool down the outer shell in the morning, and it stays that way until lunchtime--so Byrd, who drives his truck to various job sites all day, doesn't have to have a microwave to enjoy warm food in the winter. Each box can be filled to the brim with a different sort of food, such as rice, soup, sandwich, fruits, and so on. Or the boxes can be divvied into courses, like breakfast course, lunch course, and snack course.

And then there's always the food-as-art aspect of bento that has always attracted me. As a slowly reforming finicky eater, I've always loved bento's exciting shapes and colors (click to see some samples of bento). Oh, what's this thing? I don't know, but it's shaped like a bunny, so I'll eat it. And I wonder what this brown octopus-shaped item is? Ha ha, it's sausage. I usually hate sausage but THIS looks like a cute little OCTOPUS!! Yum!

Anyway, I don't have the bento box yet, so this evening I packed my husband's lunch in a variety of small Tupperware-type plastic boxes and crammed them delicately into his ice chest.

One of the items I made was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut... well... it was supposed to be in the shape of a heart, to show him how much I loved him.

Byrd walked in while I was eating all the leftover crust, stared at the misshapen sandwich, stared at me, then cautiously asked me how I was feeling and whether I would like to lie down for a while.

I suppose sometimes it's easier just to say "I love you honey."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Got me a new car

I heard back from the insurance company. Though I already sort of assumed it, they confirmed that my poor old CR-V was totalled. No idea yet how much I'll actually get for it. It was old, sure, but it was still in great condition. I don't think I'll get to see it one last time, but I'd sure like to. I'll probably call tomorrow and see if I can find out where it is and whether I can go see it. There are a handful of personal effects I'd really like to collect from its moldy remains if possible.

Days of car shopping later (yuck) and I've finally decided to get another CR-V to replace the one Ike ate. Except this CR-V will be 2008 and will have leather seats and a sunroof. Nice, huh?

Of course, being new and fancy, it's expensive, and the insurance settlement from my old 2001 CR-V will only cover a small portion. So it's back to car payments for us, and poor Byrd's dream of getting his very own brand new Toyota Tacoma is deferred once again.

I decided to pay extra for leather seats because of what I call the Dog Fur Factor. Dozer's fur would NOT come out of the cloth seats in my old CR-V, no matter what we did. The fur embedded itself into the cloth and resisted vacuuming and shampooing. Of course, when one opened the windows, the fur would then come loose and blow around in the car, getting into one's eyes and mouth and open drink cups so on. It was really quite awful. I'm desperately hoping leather will be easier to clean and maintain.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where is my car?

Somewhere in this parking lot near the cruise terminal in Galveston, that's where...

When we left, all the cars were parked in tidy rows. My car was parked in the lower row, toward the left end. It's a green car.

Insert one hurricane.

The car is clearly still there. I'm just not sure whether it is still in any shape to drive. News reports indicate it's probably a goner.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A week off

Hooray, starting tomorrow Byrd and I are cruise-bound. We'll drive to Galveston, board a cruise ship, and get outta Dodge until next weekend.

This is our first real vacation in a very long time, so I'm pretty excited. Hurricane Ike and whatever all else, I could care less about that. As long as I'm away. With my husband. Having an adventure.

Poor Dozer is a wreck. I thought he was sick this morning. He was droopy, lethargic, and just plain depressed-looking. When we came home from last-minute trip shopping, he didn't even rush to greet us as he usually does. But then I realized how anxiously he's been eyeballing our rapidly filling suitcases. He definitely knows what's going on. I feel bad for him but I know he'll be fine with my mom.

So--back in a week. Au revoir!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My dog looks old

I never thought I'd say it, but Dozer is finally starting to show his age. Just a little, and really just because I gave him a bath today.

His droopy face and sagging skin, the slight jut of his joints, and even his thinning fur--when he's wet and pouting, it makes these signs even more obvious. Usually, his fluffy white fur and his chipper demeanor covers up the old, but at bathtime, he's neither fluffy nor chipper. For the first time in his life, I told him he looked like a "grumpy old man."

It made me a little sad because it reminded me of how Felanie looked when she was getting advanced in age. Dozer is a big dog like Felanie was, so his lifespan is naturally shorter than that of smaller dogs.

But he has fewer problems--fewer tumors, no real joint problems, not a bit overweight, and a much more energetic style of living--so perhaps it's too soon for me to be getting all depressed about losing another dog.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Chicken and the Vacation

Two exciting events are unfolding around here that are (finally) unrelated to dogs in any way...


First, we have a new member of the household, a little baby chicken. I've always planned to have chickens someday, but things rarely go as planned around here, especially when we have a reputation in the neighborhood as "the people who rescue strange animals." None of our neighbors have forgotten the beautiful and hilarious Pekin ducks we used to have, and so when this new barnyard fowl somehow ended up in the neighbor's yard (we have two different chicken flocks that roam our neighborhood, which is a strange sight since we're in a well-established neighborhood), they happily handed it over to us, knowing we would know how to care for it.

So after some preparations, the chick is now settled into Dozer's old dog run, and it seems to be doing really well. It's scratched up, maybe from a cat or a car, which would explain why it was alone when it was found, but otherwise happy and healthy and perky. It loves Byrd and it even follows Dozer around; we can't help but remember our lively duck Fred when he was a little bitty baby. I wonder if this is a boy or a girl? We won't know until it starts to crow--or lay eggs!

We're going to get at least one, maybe two, more chickens as soon as is feasible. Those two will be planned and carefully picked; I've found a breeder of the type of chicken that I want, that lays the type of eggs that I want, so there won't be any Mystery surrounding them. Plus, the breeder has some chicks that are the same approximate age as our Mystery Chick, so they aren't like day olds, which require indoor care for quite a while.

I thought a chicken blog would be interesting so I can record pictures and events as the chick grows up... and we find out whether it's a boy or a girl, and what it will look like... so it's at


And that brings us to the next thing: our vacation! Yes, a real live vacation. Byrd and I haven't been on a vacation for... well, eight years or so, if you don't count our honeymoon (a two-day excursion to San Antonio, not much of a trip). We're going on a cruise in the Caribbean, which should be entertaining considering all the hurricanes down there right now. But we are leaving on next Sunday and won't be back for a week. I'm really looking forward to it!

Dozer is going to stay here at home, and my mom is going to move in and take care of him and the chicken while we're away. So this next week I've actually got to do a lot of work. Not just packing, but also shopping and cleaning and writing care instructions and labeling cabinets and light switches and so forth, so Mom will know where everything is. The bad thing is that while we are on the cruise, we probably won't have any cell phone reception and we definitely won't have Internet access, so once we're gone, we're really gone for the whole week.

Poor Dozer, this will be the first time we have both left the house for such an extended period of time. I'm so glad Mom will be here with him, but she is not a dog person at all, and Dozer really needs to have a confident leader to tell him what to do or else he just falls to pieces. I sure hope things go okay or else I might not have a dog sitter anymore for future vacations.

Lye Burn

And as a side note, I did a really stupid thing considering I'm about to go on a cruise and I'll be wearing shorts and a swimsuit almost the whole time--I managed to get a nasty lye burn on both my knees! We just laid some concrete (for our fence--pictures and such to come at a later date), and I was helping to "finish" it by scrubbing it with water and a big stone thing. Well, after kneeling on the concrete for nearly an hour, I realized that the pain in my knees wasn't actually from kneeling on a hard surface--it was a burning feeling... and sure enough, when I pulled up my jeans (which were soaking wet and covered with concrete), my knees were red and blistered. Now I can only hope these oozing blisters will heal up in five days. :( Well, I guess the good thing is that it got me out of the rest of the job because I had to go shower straightaway!

Convenient technology

My fancy new laptop, a brand spanking new Dell Studio and the first brand spanking new computer I've ever had (except for the Apple IIc, about fifteen years ago or so), has a fingerprint reader.

Yes, a fingerprint reader.

As I placed the order online, which involves customizing the computer so that the price is almost always doubled by the time one comes out the other side, I thought, "What the heck am I going to do with that? It's not like I work for the FBI." I briefly considered removing it and saving $50.

Then I decided that I would like, for once, to be the first person in my group to have an interesting new gadget. I mean, my "new" cell phone looks a lot like the first phone I ever got (or rather, my husband forced me to get)--back in 1999. It doesn't take pictures or play songs or any of that stuff. It doesn't even flip open; it's a candybar style. I only just bought an MP3 player this year. Yes, I do have a ten-year-old printer and an eight-year-old scanner. And my digital camera, at seven years old, is just barely younger than Dozer. I often feel like I'm stuck in the early 2000s.

Anyway, back to the fancy new laptop with the fingerprint scanner. As it turns out, the fingerprint scanner not only locks unauthorized users out of my computer, but it also acts as a password vault for any and everything that asks for a login and password.

Oh my oh my.

Needless to say, I have happily set up the fingerprint scanner to log me in to just about everything I sign in to. It's so convenient to just swipe my finger across the scanner and ta da! I'm logged in to my blog, to my credit card account, to my Yahoo! groups...

The horrific side effect is that I now have absolutely no idea how to log in without the fingerprint scanner.

This is a real problem when I go up to my office to work on my desktop. User id and password? I don't remember anymore!

Sometimes I think the convenient solutions offered by technology only lead to new and different inconveniences.