desoto_hia873: (Bedhead Spike - eyesthatslay)
I still hab a code. Ids in my head. I cand breed. ::snuffles::

Buy stock in Kleenex. Srsly. I am going to single-handedly solve the global economic crisis via massive consumption of tissues.

desoto_hia873: (Blue Spike - Flurblewig)
Okay, it's official. I miss being on LJ. Life has been a little insane for the last couple of months, so I really haven't been here much. I wondered if I was weaning myself off of my LJ addiction and worked at convincing myself that this was a good thing, and then I heard reports about the Obama/McCain debate on the news this morning, and my first thought was, "I wondering what they're saying about it on LJ?" And last night I saw that [ profile] redeem147 had posted a link to Writercon 2009 on Facebook, and I started wanting to get back to fic. I'll never be free.

Most women my age are trying to balance career with family. Me, I'm trying to balance obsessions. My life is a study in serial obsessions. In order, starting in pre-high school, they are:

* House plants--I had about 50 at my peak, and a binder that catalogued their names (yes, I named them), species (both English and Latin names), conditions in which they liked to grow, where I'd gotten them, their "birthdate," a history of their growth and flowering, etc. etc.

* Horses--I owned and competed in hunter shows with my large black pony, Kommanche, and worked at the stable where he was boarded. I was all horses, all the time. At least until I met my first boyfriend.

* Astronomy--It's all Carl Sagan's fault. At the peak of that one, when friends phoned for me in the evening, my mother would tell them that I was up on the roof with a cup of tea :-)

* Environmental science--I was like a sponge, going to lectures and seminars and reading all kinds of books, soaking up everything I could learn, and I guess I kind of turned it into a career.

* Whales--I moved to Newfoundland to do a degree in whale research. A big part of me wishes I were still there, but it's a tough way to make a living.

* Figure skating--Elvis Stojko caught my attention during the Lillehammer Olympics, I spent a year in a close relationship with my VCR watching competitions over and over again until I could reliably distinguish an Axel from a toe loop from a Salchow, I took adults lessons, passed two ice dance tests, and judged club competitions. This one is still with me a little, although I'm not as fanatical about watching every single competition as I used to be.

* Fanfiction--My cousin got me watching Buffy and Angel when I was on long-term sick leave from work. I can't remember how I discovered fanfic, but once I found the motherlode of Spike fics at All About Spike, I was hooked.

* And now, Tollers--I first saw Tollers at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in the mid-80s, and I've wanted one ever since. I finally got my Bella in December and have jumped into the dog world with both feet. I'm an active member of the local obedience club and the Ontario Toller Club, keep up with an international email list all about Tollers, and have been entering Bella into obedience matches and trials all summer and fall (she has titles now!). My life has gone to the dog.

But I miss you guys. I miss fic. I miss fandom. I have to figure out how to do dog stuff *and* LJ stuff, and maybe even finish a frakking WIP.

I haven't a hope of catching up with everyone's posts for the past two months, though. If you're feeling kind, leave a comment and tell me the important stuff.
desoto_hia873: (Bella)
How to lose weight:

* Go to Italy. Walk until you drop every day. Spending time in Tuscany's hilltop towns is particularly effective--some of them have no level streets at all.

* Come home. Wake up at 5 am for the next week and get to work really early. Skip a few dinners because you're falling asleep early in the evening.

* Spend first weekend back home at a dog obedience trial in suffocating humidity. Don't eat due to nerves and loss of appetite from the heat.

* Contract a stomach bug and resulting, as my mother would say, "collywobbles."

My clothes are looser on me than they have been in quite some time, I can tell you.

On the upside, Bella and I did well in last weekend's rally obedience trials: we qualified on Saturday with a score of 95/100 and again on Sunday with a perfect score of 100/100(!). We were in a trial in Peterborough in May (score: 99/100), which means that Bella has earned her very first title. She's now known as Tollwest's Spice of Broadway RN. She's a registered nurse! :-D
desoto_hia873: (Spike - Blood - awmp)
I feel like I'm coming down with a cold, so I went to the drugstore at lunch today to pick up some Cold-FX. I have no idea if the stuff actually works, but I'm spending much of this upcoming weekend at rally obedience trials, so this isn't really a good time to get sick. (Of course, when is?)

While I was there, I noticed that they had over-the-counter SAM-e (chemical name: s-adenosyl-L-methionine). SAM-e is a molecule that is present in all living cells, and there's some evidence that decreased amounts of SAM-e can contribute to depression. SAM-e has been prescribed as an antidepressant in Europe for years, but this is the first time I've seen it in Canada. Clinical studies show that it has about the same rate of effectiveness as other antidepressants, but far fewer side effects. I am the Side Effects Queen of the Universe, and I'm one of the lucky few who reacts very badly to SSRIs (the most "popular" class of antidepressants), so there aren't many choices in the pharmaceutical cabinet for me. I can't even take St. John's wort, ferhevvinssakes, because its mode of action is similar to SSRIs, and that just leads to badness.

SAM-e is terrifically expensive, and there's no clear guideline for a recommended dose (I've seen everything from 100 mg to 1400 mg per day), but I bought a bottle anyway. We'll see what, if anything, it does, I guess.
desoto_hia873: (JM - Vampire - crackers4jenn)
I come from a long line of women who like to grow (of all things) tomatoes. Picking a tomato off the vine generally ensures a better taste sensation than biting into one of those under-ripe billiard balls that they call tomatoes at the grocery store. My mother also likes the way tomato plants smell--the scent reminds her of being in her great-aunt's garden as a child. [Sidebar: I learned while doing my PhD that the scent of tomatoes is due to emissions of chemicals known as terpenes. Who knew?] So dedicated is my mother to the raising of tomatoes that she has been known to plant them instead of flowers in front of her house.

My backyard is very shady, and the soil in my front yard has been rendered tomato-toxic by the presence of two very large black walnut trees. So last summer I bought four whiskey barrels and filled them with tomato-friendly soil and six tomato plants. People and earwigs feasted on tomatoes for months.

This spring has been unusually cold and wet, so I haven't actually planted anything in the barrels yet this year. I noticed that I was growing a fine crop of weeds in them, though, and went to pull some out yesterday. To my surprise, in amongst the weeds were two tomato plants, presumably grown from seeds dropped from last year's crop. Colour me surprised. I didn't think tomato seeds could survive Canadian winters, but I guess those dozens of feet of snow provided good insulation.

In other garden news, most of the black walnut-tolerant plants that I installed in front flowerbed not only survived the winter, but have exploded into a verdant jungle thanks to all this spring rain. I will post some pictures after I've finished plowing my way through the 400+ that I took in Italy (I'm almost done with Venice!).
desoto_hia873: (Buffy and Giles - mangofandango)

* We had an invasion of ants in the kitchen.
* Jim told me that the last episodes of Battlestar Galactica didn't tape properly while I was away.
* I slept extremely badly for the third night in a row. This is not helping my jet lag.


* It was as hot as blazes.
* We had a thunderstorm and a deluge this afternoon, which overwhelmed the eavestroughs and resulted in water coming in through the living room ceiling.
* I found out that a similar rainstorm over the weekend flooded the basement.
* I discovered that most of my teaspoons are missing. No one knows where they are.


* I have to go back to work.

desoto_hia873: (Effulgent Spike - red_sunflower)
Everyone has their cross to bear (she says, despite not being particularly religious). Mine is depression. It's seldom acute--I've only once needed medical intervention, and that was a time of crises upon crises that eventually became overwhelming. Most of the time, it's like a veil--one that's transparent enough that I forget that it's there, but one that distorts my view enough that the colours of my world are not quite as bright as they should be.

My blessings (she says, sounding religious again, even though she's not) are many: I live in Canada where our many rights and freedoms are taken for granted; I grew up in a solidly middle-class family where there was always a roof over my head and food on the table; my parents encouraged me to follow my interests and supported me even when they didn't understand them; I am intelligent and have some talents, although not as many as I'd like (but who among us can't say that?); I have a secure, decent-paying employment and a very nice house to live in; and I have the love of a good and faithful man (she says, sounding like a cliché, but actually meaning it). My life isn't perfect, but it's better than the lives of a very large proportion of the people on this Earth.

The veil makes me forget that. Perhaps ironically, it also makes me forget that it is within my power to improve upon the parts of my life that need improving.

Travel lifts the veil.

Travelling in an unfamiliar country where you know little of the native language is stressful and exhausting (she says, not wanting to think about the increase in lorazepam consumption that kept my overstimulated brain from exploding out my ears), but it's also exhilarating and rejuvenating. For two weeks, colours were bright, new discoveries lay around every corner, and the world lay at my feet. For two weeks, I lived on a steady diet of anticipation, joy, and excitement. It's safe to say that I revelled in Italy. The thought of leaving our farmhouse in Tuscany yesterday almost brought me to tears--I've never seen countryside so beautiful. I'm already planning what I'm going to do when I go back, whenever that might be.

I like life without the veil. I wish I could travel always to keep it at bay. I can't, of course, so I have to figure out how to recognize more quickly when the veil is descending and how to lift it using the events and experiences of my normal, middle-class, Canadian life.

But for the next few days, at least, my head will be full of Italy and remembering and recording the things I saw and did there. There will be long LJ entries and pictures. LOTS of pictures. Warm up your modems.

In the meantime, what'd I miss while I was away?
desoto_hia873: (Me)
Chris de Burgh was one of my favourite musical artists, back in the day. That was the day when he was still a storyteller and before he started pumping out pop schmaltz hits like Lady In Red and suchlike. As far as I'm concerned, my C de B stopped making albums after Eastern Wind.

[Side note: Italian keyboards are *weird*. None of the punctuation symbols live where this Canadian thinks they should. The fact that I'm half in the bag after a long day and a very large glass of wine doesn't help...]

ANYway, possibly one of C de B's least known songs is Discovery, from mrphl years ago. (Yes, I'm old.) Being a sciencey-type whose life is made worthwhile by learning and experiencing new things, I've always liked its last verse:

"One day," says Galileo, "A man will reach the sky,
And see the world completely, from outside.
And gazing down from yonder, on a world of blue and green,
He’ll say with eyes of wonder, 'I have seen...
‘My eyes have seen.'"

Today, quelling an acute sense of anxiety and an almost complete ignorance of the Italian language, the mere smatterings of which I've gleaned from Hollywood movies and restaurant menus, I single-handedly tackled the spaghetti which is Italian train system and took myself on a trip from Venice to Bolzano (and back again) on my quest to see the Iceman. The journey was not without its difficulties (two wrong trains taken, one hefty fine paid, acute embarassment narrowly averted by a lovely young woman from Bolzano who argued with the conductor on my behalf), but in the end, there he was: my Ötzi and all of his belongings that were miraculously preserved intact for over 5000 years within a glacier. (Maple leaves! Three fresh maple leaves, with chlorophyll! In a glacier. Imagine.)

I've been wanting to see Ötzi since I first read about him in the early 1990s. And there he was. For this science-phile, it was like a pilgrimmage. I actually teared up a little.

"My eyes have seen."
desoto_hia873: (Buffy and Giles - mangofandango)
The May 24th long weekend--which frequently doesn't fall on the 24th, and didn't this year--is supposed to be the first long weekend of summer in Canada. Last year, I spent most of the three warm, sunny days doing yard work, a task that I find pleasantly relaxing. I guess actually having a yard is still a novelty, so it hasn't become a chore yet. This year, though, we got two days of solid rain, and although it was intermittently sunny and drier today, it was cold. I pout.

On the upside, being stuck in the house meant that I had lots of time to get with the packing for Italy. I think I'm kinda, sorta ready, although I'm going to try to buy a better waterproof jacket tomorrow evening. I got completely soaked on Saturday morning while wearing my water-resistant jacket, and the forecast for Venice is rain. At least it'll be Italian rain.

The report that I've spent the last year and a half of my life working on is being released by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources tomorrow. She's coming to Peterborough for the event, which means I have to get dressed up. There's nothing very Earth-shattering in said report, so I'm kind of wondering why she's bothering. As far as I can tell, government reports are primarily written to be read by other government workers. Which makes working for the government, well, not very exciting.

But at least it pays for trips to Italy.
desoto_hia873: (Spike - Reading Is Sexy - vampkiss)
And still so very unposty. My life has kind of gone to the dog lately, so all the action's been over at [ profile] spiceofbroadway. We're entering a rally obedience trial (our very first) on Sunday. I should be in a state of high nerves by Friday at the latest, even though I know that Bella can do everything she's supposed to, and the greatest danger of flubbing up will come from me. We were in a match (which is to say a practice trial) a few weeks ago, and I managed to miss a station entirely, and we wound up with a non-qualifying score. ::facepalm::

In non-dog news, the date of my departure for Italy approaches. I'm flying out of Montreal on May 22. This will also put me in a high state of nerves--in fact, it's started already--as I worry about what to pack. Also, I'm a white-knuckle flyer.

I'll be spending the first 10 days in Venice, Florence, and Rome with my mother, and then we're meeting up with my sister, her husband, and my father at a farmhouse in Tuscany. We're all readers, and my sister has very sensibly suggested that we each bring one or two books so that we can trade and thus avoid buying very expensive and hard-to-find English books in a non-English country. I'm bringing my book on the Iceman, which unfortunately is in hardcover. I'd like my other books to be paperbacks, but I think I've read everything I have in paperback.

So, paperback recs, anyone?
desoto_hia873: (Buffy & Spike - Porch - _jems_)
Attempting to start posting regularly again. Funny how it seems as natural as breathing when I do do it, but then I can't think of a thing to say if I've been away for awhile.

Peterborough has apparently decided to skip spring this year. We went from umppity-nine feet of snow in never-ending blizzards to summer in the time it takes to wonder where you put your Birkenstocks. I'm not entirely convinced that we're done with winter, mind. Alberta is still getting hammered with snowstorms, and April is awfully early for shorts weather. However, the long-range forecast is pretty good, so I shall hope.

Building management apparently didn't believe the good weather was here to stay, either--we've spent the last four workdays stewing in our cubicles and wondering just how many clothes we can peel off without getting slapped on the wrist (or other tender parts) by the workplace harassment folks. Frak, but it was hot in here! I have a chocolate bar in my (closed) desk drawer, and it was starting to melt. They finally capitulated today, however, and turned on the AC this afternoon. I can breathe! I might even be able to stay awake.

In other news:

* Bella is FINALLY no longer in heat. ::does the dance of joy:: I think we navigated that minefield safely. The only chance she has at being pregnant is if Daughter o' Jim's Yorkshire terrier puppy took advantage of her when I wasn't looking. However, given the height difference, not to mention the fact that he is very young and completely clueless, that seems unlikely.

* Said Yorkie puppy is cute, but is growing increasingly yappy, and he pees every 17 minutes. This is far more often than Daughter o' Jim takes him outside, and I'm getting tired of stepping into warm puddles. There's a reason we didn't get a Toller puppy, and this is it. Daughter o' Jim didn't actually ask permission to bring a puppy home--she just showed up with it at midnight one evening and claimed to be dog-sitting for a friend. Yeah, right--that was well over a month ago. I think Yorkie puppy's days are numbered--he needs to go to a home where he will be provided with a proper doggy upbringing, 'cause he's not getting it from D o' J.

* They say that women living in the same house will wind up with sychronized hormone cycles. I'm hoping mine sychronizes with Bella's--twice a year would be nice. :-)

* Battlestar Galactica is back. Woot! It's become must-see TV for me, all the more precious because this is its last season.

* New House next week. Woot!

* Ozzy got kicked off Survivor last night. Unwoot. :-( I wasn't exactly deeply invested in who won, but now I care even less. I think Ozzy's cute--he's got that Ethan Zohn/Mr. Universe/Mika dark, curly, floppy hair thing going, and that always reels me in.

* Bella and I went to watch field training for the first time on Sunday. We came away with a sunburn (on my face) and two dead, frozen pigeons which I'm supposed to toss around to see if I can whet her interest in retrieving (she's a rather unretrievey retriever). Yes, I have dead pigeons in my freezer.

* I couldn't have gotten a poodle?
desoto_hia873: (William the Bloody - awmp)
Really, still here, still alive. Just, well, kinda quiet lately. I've been going through a bout of dysphoria, which sucks, but sucks much less than full blown depression would. I'm pretty sure I know what's causing it, and there's not much to be done but ride it out.

At least spring is here--sort of. The snow is melting, anyway, although that happy fact is revealing a dog-created mess in the back yard. That would be the downside of Bella-ownership. But that and the fact that she's not quite finished her heat cycle are the only downsides of her. She continues to delight me everyday in every way.

My life in bullet points:

* The Loudest Woman In The World retired last Friday. Woot! Peace reigns at the office.

* Bella and I are entering a novice obedience and novice Rally-O match on Sunday. A match is different from an official trial in that it's just for practice and doesn't count for anything. Although it will determine if we enter the trial in two weeks' time. All good obedience karma gratefully accepted. :-)

* It is daylight for more than an hour when I get home from work now. It makes me feel like a chrysalis preparing to leave my cocoon. I want to spend time outside in my yard, see what survived the winter in the flowerbeds, plant tomatoes, prune dead branches from trees, and then burn them in our chiminea.

* Bella greeted spring on Monday by running across the semi-frozen pool and falling in. :-)

* My trip to Italy is fast approaching--I leave on May 22. Egad! I actually have to start thinking about packing and how I'm going to fit all my stuff into the one suitcase I'm allowed to bring. Anyone have any suggestions for suitably touristy clothes to wear in Italy in late May/early June?

* I finally got my copy of the cod book I edited during the summer of 2006. Holy mackeral, that sucker is thick! 592 pages! And I read them every one of them, three times.

* I'm oddly obsessed lately with the For Better or For Worse comic strip. I've read most of the strip in the online archive, and I can't tell you how many games of "Dig" that I've played. This is the sort of thing that my brain does when it's not quite functioning right.

* I'm really enjoying reading the entries at [ profile] joss_las. The ones in this round are particularly good. I'm quite entranced by entry #3. When this round is over, someone tell me who wrote it!
desoto_hia873: (2x2 Hands of Blue - cyrstalkirk)
It started snowing here yesterday evening, and it hasn't stopped yet. We've had at least two feet come down in that time. We live on a dead end street which, needless to say, isn't exactly the city's first priority when it comes to plowing. Jim and I took Bella for a walk this afternoon (she actually disappeared into a snowdrift at one point) and rescued two guys in a van around the corner who had been stuck for two hours. We were going to go out for dinner and a movie tonight, but we wouldn't make it past the end of the driveway.

If it weren't for the fact that I'm halfway through reading Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers, I'd say this whole global warming thing is a crock.

ETA: That last sentence was my lame, houseboundy attempt at sarcasm. I was pretty convinced before I started reading; even more so now.
desoto_hia873: (Mal - Someone To Carry You - 50thousandt)
We're having a snowstorm in southern Ontario today. A real honking huge Canadian snowstorm. Schools are closed. Buses have stopped running. I expect that the Toronto airport is a disaster.

One of my colleagues here at work can't ever remember our building closing due to weather, but our manager just came by and said that the director's given us permission to go home because of the snow.

I have a deadline on Monday. Whatever I don't get done today has to be done over the weekend. So I have nothing to gain by leaving early.

desoto_hia873: (Jayne - Cheers - soniablu)
I had to get some money out of the bank today, so I went to the mall across the street at lunch. They have a small food court there with the usual greasy lunch suspects. But there was a new addition today: a placed call Simply Thai.

Peterborough is not exactly the most cosmopolitan of cities (that's putting it mildly). There's one "Thai" restaurant in town, but the food they serve isn't really Thai food. It tastes good, but it's just not Thai. The first time I went there, I asked if they had lemongrass tea. The blank look on the waitress's face, followed by her "What kind of tea?" told me pretty much all I needed to know.

Not expecting much (and having previously decided to get a Bento Box from the Japanese restaurant down the street), I went over to look at Simply Thai's menu. I could smell the fish sauce as I approached the counter, and several of their menu items had lemongrass in the name. So I abandoned my Bento Box aspirations and decided to try a bowl of their Tom Yam Kai, mediumly spicy, with shrimp. And it's... not bad. A wee bit salty and rather heavy on the rice noodles (which I don't use at all when I make it), but it's quite definitely Thai soup. I am most pleased.

I've found two Asian food stores in Peterborough, but neither one sells fresh lemongrass. So I asked the cashier where they got theirs as he was ringing up my order. "Toronto," he replied. I was unsurprised. And then he asked, "Do you want some?" I may have gaped at him briefly, but recovered and said, "Sure!" And off he went and returned with a little bag of fresh-frozen lemongrass. For free.

Mmmm, lemongrass. I may have just about enough to make a cup of lemongrass tea tonight.

They will definitely be getting more of my lunch business.

Also, a third Japanese restaurant recently opened in Peterborough (it's not as good as the other two, but Jim was pleased to discover that they have a dish with Chinese eggplants), and we have one quite respectable Vietnamese restaurant on the west side of town. Those are my three favorite cuisines (I think I was born on the wrong continent), so things are looking up gastronomically around here.


I've spent the last three days at a work-related conference in Orillia and arrived home late yesterday afternoon in a condition bordering on a state of collapse. I was so tired that I was actually shaking. I have something like 200 unread emails and haven't been on LJ since Monday. I'll try to catch up over the weekend (when I'm not in the office working overtime--we have a deadline on Monday ::sigh::), but do let me know if I've missed something significant.
desoto_hia873: (Effulgent Spike - red_sunflower)
::crash landing::

The last few days have been a wee bit busier than I normally like my life to be. On Friday, I had a meeting in Toronto during the day, followed by a three-hour drive to Ottawa that evening. All told, that represented ::counts on fingers:: about seven hours in various cars with a four-hour meeting in the middle of it all. Yargh. Jim, Bella, and I arrived at Mom's house in Ottawa around 10 pm, which gave me enough time to say hello and suck back a glass of wine before I went into a state of collapse.

I got my hair cut on Saturday morning and then took Bella to Bruce Pit, a huge off-leash dog park with fields and forests and about a hundred other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Bella was intimidated by the newness of it all for about five minutes, then leapt into the fray and ran around like a happy, crazed thing for an hour and a half until her feet iced up. She was walking around with snowballs the size of walnuts between her toes by the end of it--I must get her a pair of Muttluks.

After that, we repaired back to Mom's house for Christmas, The Sequel. My sister and her hubby spent their Christmas in Indiana with hubby's parents, and I stayed in Peterborough for mine, so this was our somewhat belated family Christmas together. Bella got to hang out with Xavier, my sister's border collie/basenji cross, and Jilly, my mom's sheltie/corgi cross, and a good time was had by all.

Sunday was a late-getting-up day, followed by an Atlantic Voices concert in the afternoon. They have a Newfoundland dog as their official mascot, so I phoned one of the board members to ask if Bella could come as honorary assistant mascot seeing as she's a member of Nova Scotia's official breed. The answer was yes, so Bella got to meet lots of people and listen to a concert in an echo-y church, so it was a great socialization experience for her. She was very well behaved, and no accidents were had in the church (phew). Then it was time to drive back to Peterborough. I was so tired by this point that I spent most of the trip dozing, which I don't normally do because it's nicer for Jim if he has someone to talk to.

Yesterday I felt like I'd been run over by a truck and couldn't really do anything. Fortunately, I'd anticpated this and had booked the day off, so home I stayed and did very little other than nap and occasionally eat. My various past afflictions have left me with less stamina than I once had: a weekend of mild exertion to most people is a marathon for me. I've been doing better in this regard in the past couple of years, but last weekend saw me pushing--and exceeding--my limits. Hence yesterday's collapse. It's annoying, but I'm used to it, and fortunately I have a job with floating days off that I can rearrange into "collapse days" when I need them.

Bella's training kind of fell off the itinerary too, which is unfortunate. She had her first group session with PADOC last Thursday and wasn't really at her best. Being in a room with ten other dogs was VERY distracting for her, and she had a complete brain dump of previously learned manners. ::sigh:: I get kind of upset about that if I spend enough time thinking about it, so I have to keep reminding myself that there are other things she needs work on--like her timidity--that did get worked on this weekend. The concert was a great experience for her, and so was Bruce Pit--every dog deserves some fun now and then. And so I'll take it for what it was and put our noses back to the grindstone this week.

Also, the Canadian Figure Skating Championships were on this weekend and I saw NONE OF THEM. ::weeps:: AND I forgot to set my VCR before I left Peterborough. ::wails:: I can't even remember the last time I didn't watch Canadians. I am welding myself to the TV set for Worlds in March.

Also also, we discovered last week that the VCR in my bedroom doesn't record, and I missed my chance to tape Victor, the film about Victor Davis starring Mark Lutz. WAH! If anyone has it on tape and wouldn't mind making me a copy, please do let me know.

Time to go home and practice heeling.
desoto_hia873: (Jayne - ligeres)
Bella LOVED doggy daycare yesterday. She had the biggest smile on her face when I went in at lunch and at the end of the day to pick her up. She was so cute. I need to win the lottery so that I can bring her in there every day. Of course, if I won the lottery, I wouldn't need to go to work and could stay home with her myself. Must buy more tickets.

Choir rehearsal last night was a mixed experience. We did an interesting adaptation of a traditional Italian song, but I've come to the conclusion that I dislike madrigals. They're squeaky (if you're a first soprano at the edge of her range) and repetitive and don't do a thing for me. I was all crankified by the time I got home and went to bed an hour earlier than usual.

Speaking of Italy, my brother-in-law booked a farmhouse in Tuscany for us all to stay in for a week in May. I can't believe a place like that is real. I may never come back to Peterborough again.

Book Recs?

Jan. 14th, 2008 02:14 pm
desoto_hia873: (Spike - Reading Is Sexy - vampkiss)
When I first started seeing Jim, MiddleJim was the Jimlet most opposed to having me in his father's life. He was still smarting from his parents' separation (which, for record, had NOTHING to do with me) and hoping for a reconciliation. I met him once and then didn't see him again for a full eight months, when Jim judged that he'd be more open to the idea of me. I didn't try to push my way into MiddleJim's life--I stayed in the background, occasionally showed up with little gifts, and generally let him come to me in his own good time.

I guess my strategy worked, because MiddleJim is the kid with whom I probably have the best relationship now. We're alike in many ways: we both listen more than we talk, we feel things deeply but don't wear our hearts on our sleeves, and hey, we shared a pair of shorts over the summer. :-)

There is one big difference between us, though: I read. MiddleJim doesn't.

Unfortunately (from MiddleJim's perspective), he's gonna have to start reading because he's at the age (just turned 13) where he's being asked to write book reports for school. So I went through my library and tried to pick a few books that I thought he'd like. He judged Watership Down and The Hobbit as being too long. I'm not sure why he decided against The Golden Compass. When I left this morning, he was trying to pick between Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and two Enid Blyton mystery/adventure books.

He's never read for pleasure, so he doesn't really know what his tastes are. He really liked The Golden Compass as a film, so he might discover that he liked fantasy if he started off with a good one. He says he'd like to read a mystery, which is why I gave him two of my Enid Blyton books.

Anyone have any recommendations for books that would appeal to a 13-year-old boy?

ETA: Holy cats, you guys are amazing! I'd say that he has enough to keep him going until he graduates now. :-) And I'm thinking I might have to read some of your recs myself!


Jan. 14th, 2008 12:15 pm
desoto_hia873: (Sawyer)
I finally watched the last two episodes of last season's Lost last night.

Lost spoilers. Is there anyone left to spoil? )

In other news, Bella is at doggy daycare for the first time today. She's settled into our household routine well, and we're better at speaking each other's language for sure, but she's still a little timid when confronted with new people and things. She spooked when a truck used its air brakes as I was walking her to daycare this morning, so she arrived there feeling kind of jittery. I could see her thinking, "And what fresh hell is this?" as she was led away from me. She does love playing with other dogs, though, so I know she'll have a good time there when she loosens up. And I'm going to go and pay her a lunchtime visit ::checks watch:: right about now to see how she's doing.
desoto_hia873: (Anya - o_O - eyesthatslay)
When I decided that I was going to get a Toller, I joined the Raw-Toller Yahoo Group. A lot of Toller owners feed raw food to their dogs and request that their puppy buyers do too. I did some reading, thought "Why not?", and now trot down to a nearby pet store every other week to buy frozen, nutrionally balanced patties of raw food for both Bella and Lucy.

I occasionally give Bella raw chicken necks and other bits, too. (Chicken bones don't splinter until they're cooked, so raw chicken bones are safe for dogs.) They're slightly ickier than the anonymous meat patties, but I've been well trained by my father, the ultimate carnivore. He loves chicken and turkey necks, as well as all those other organ-y bits that are wrapped in paper inside whole chickens and turkeys. He boils them up and then takes great delight in grossing me and my sister out by sucking the spinal cord out of the vertebrae. If I can watch him eat a turkey neck--well, watching Bella eat one scarcely even registers on my radar screen.

However, there's a discussion going on at the group now about where to locate whole heads to feed their dogs. Yes, heads: chicken heads, lamb heads, and cow heads. Which they casually toss into the backyard and watch their dogs excavate and devour.

I like the raw diet. It's a little less convenient and a little more expensive than feeding tinned food and kibble, but I know that Bella's getting quality meat, not just processed bits that humans don't want. I've started feeding Lucy raw food, too--and her persistent case of dandruff has cleared up and her coat is much shinier. She's also not as neurotic as she was last winter. Raw food advocates say that dogs and cats weren't designed to eat large quantities of grains (i.e., carbohydrates), and eating processed carbs leads to higher and more variable blood sugar levels. So, who knows? Maybe the raw diet is responsible for the improvement in Lucy's behaviour, too.

But entire cow heads? In my backyard? ::shudders:: No, I'm just not going there. Sorry, Bella, that's just one "treat" you're going to have to do without.


desoto_hia873: (Default)

February 2013

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