Monday, August 28, 2006

Finally, I have the apartment personalized to fit all of my possible sleeping needs and desires. (And what other needs are there? Well, eating of course, but the only way I could satisfy all my eating needs and desires would be if I moved into a Kentucky Fried Chicken.) The queen-size bed was the final piece in the puzzle. I'd say I spend about 50% of my time there, when I feel like stretching out or if I want human company. (My mom, vibrant academic that she is, spends 95% of her time in bed). In case I'm more in the mood for the kind of company I can place in my jaws or knead, I brought my blue elephant up there. I also have a couple pig ears, in case I want a midnight snack and mom is too comatose to be prodded to the refrigerator.

All that company in the bed, though, is not always what an independent girl wants. Fortunately I have a variety of other options. If I want my own space but still want the elevation and stretching room of a bed, there's the futon (aka, the old bed). That's cool, because I can stare straight across at mom, like we're in a hotel or something. When I feel like having a more traditional doggie experience, but a pampered padded doggie experience, there's the leopard-print doggie mat on the floor by the side of the bed. Sometimes though I get a sort of nostalgic need to return to the womb, in which case I can hop over to the doggie kennel, which is padded with Dale's baby blanket. If it's hot, or I really want to go back to my undomestic roots, there is the floor. Not that I've tried it yet, but it is there.

When I want to get away from it all--apartment, humans, light--I head for the closet. The closet has an added plus of the dirty laundry bag, full of fascinating smells (although as the week goes on, they smell more and more like me), and the option to arrange the bedding exactly to my comfort preferences. Since it often takes a good half hour of digging and turning in circles to layer the various garments in the ideal configuration, I make sure I have a full supply of bones and toys in there. You don't want to get everything just right only to realize that you need a panda in your jaws and it's all the way across the room. The only problem is that every once in a while the laundry bag is inexplicably depleted.

So basically, if I could just get those bookshelves out of there, the entire room would be dedicated to my sleeping experiences. It's like having a 6 bedroom apartment...all in a studio.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dale here:

Bad news: I received an e-mail from my GRANDFATHER entitled "50 positions in bed."
Good news: It was full of pictures of curled-up pets.
The REALLY bad news: My current lifestyle is such that, upon receiving an e-mail entitled "50 positions in bed," I assumed it would be full of pictures of curled-up pets.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dale got me a new bed!

Okay, ostensibly she got herself a new bed, but we both know how things work around here. It's a queen size anyway, so there's plenty of room for the both of us. It's super-soft, plus she got brand new sheets to fit it, and what with all the comfiness and the happiness and the starchiness, I was just so excited that I....threw up all over the new bed. I wanted to mark the extent of my happiness and excitement with something extraordinary--not your usual puddle o-phlegm, but a tour-de-force Olympic-quality kibble-rich offering which hit both sheets, box spring, and pillowcase in a single shot. Success on the first try.

See, that's the great thing about dogs. They show you when they're grateful.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dale here:

Well, since I last wrote of the dangers and trials of walking the dog at 5:30AM, several new ones have cropped up. Friday morning, I was blearily staggering along through the park waiting for Sancha to find the perfect spot for her morning constitutional when a gentleman (30s, big guy)sitting on a park bench signalled to me. I stopped. "So," he began in a thick West Indian accent. Then he cut right to the point. "You and me. When are we getting married?"

Have I been flirting with and dating this man before my consciousness (and taste) could step in to protect me? How long has this been going on? How far have we gotten? Am I seeing other people?

Granted, it's possible that he was just a drunken chauvinist hornball--but he was also a drunken, chauvinist hornball alone in the park with me, so my response (again, receiving none of the benefits of my postnoon prudence or wit) was not probably a good idea. The exchange went as follows:

Horny chauvinist or secret (to me) boyfriend: So, you and me. When we gonna get married?
Me (completely ingenuous, not being a smartass): Ummmm....never?

Worst part is, I had to walk back by him once Sancha had found her Urinary Eden. I was hoping that he was drunk enough to confuse her with a very fierce German Shepherd.

As we got back to the building, I was pretty much awake and rationally thinking about my possible past and future REM-cycle relationships, so I took particular notice of the gorgeous guy who I see most mornings at the bus stop in front of my apartment. He is gorgeous. Did I mention that? And friendly, always says hello, good morning. And clearly gainfully employed (why else would he be waiting for the bus at 5:45 every day), yet not a slave to the Man (stylish conservative dress, but no suit and tie), and....gorgeous. Adorable intellectual spectacles. And all of a sudden it occurs to me--now that I'm thinking of my Sancha walks in a whole new romantic-opportunity light--that he sees me every day in my pyjamas, which is a big T-shirt and sweats. The same big T-shirt and sweats for at least a week at a time. Does he think I have only one pair of clothes? How can I casually mention that these are my pyjamas ("good morning, I have other clothes, have a nice day")? And do I want to--thus dispelling the image of me walking the dog early so I can rush off to my own fulfilling, high-powered job. Why am I beginning to sound like Elaine in a Seinfeld episode? Why can't my dog just sleep in?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just read Dale's post (phew, she's still totally in the dark about my computer skills). So when she wakes up at 12 she doesn't remember if she fed me at 6 (even though she always does)! Oooooh, will I use this to my full advantage. Let me practice my "starving orphan never ever been fed ever ever" look right now....
Dale here:

Solar energy is a great alternative fuel source for many things: cars, calculators, houses. Most of these have a mechanism for using an alternate fuel source when the sun isn't out. What I need is an alternative mechanism to turn OFF the solar-energy source on my dog when the sun is 5:30 in the morning. Let me describe what happens in my apartment every day at about that hour.

5:29 Dale peacefully sleeping, dog peacefully sleeping (I assume. Dog may be creating nuclear fusion, but at least she is doing it quietly).
5:30 Dog receives mysterious solar signal from 8.1 light years away and springs to action. Dale still peacefully sleeping, which puts serious crimp in dog's plans.
5:31. First clicks of claws on wood floor. Dog stations herself next to bed and, when Dale does not intuitively leap into air, leash in hand, and propose a quick marathon, dog begins little skeeter-one-foot-in-reverse, inch-forward-with-maximum-claw-clicking dance. Click, skeeter, repeat.
5:35 If Dale has managed to ignore this call to arms, dog adds whining/panting soundtrack.
5:39 If Dale has not responded with sufficient enthusiasm, dog turns herself into the canine spatula, inserting nose under Dale's inert body and lifting. Whining, clicking, skeetering continue.

Now, I do not oppose the 5:30 out of some theoretical dislike for mornings. I have very good practical reasons for not wanting to go outside at such an hour. Among them:

1) I do not think very clearly at 5:30. I may look in the mirror before going out, but I will not register anything that I see. Thus it is very likely that I will meet the neighborhood with no pants, hair displaced entirely to one side of my head and vertically aligned, and different socks.

2) I am being tugged by an 16 lb. animal who believes she can stop a moving car. Usually it is my steel-like grip of traffic and physics laws which keeps us from ending our walk on the underside of an SUV. At 5:30, the only thing I have a steel-like grip on is my bed as Sancha tries to pry me out of it.

3) When I do start to come to, I frequently notice that there are a lot of other people out in the park at this hour. Are they groggily being dragged by their dogs? No. They are running, pushing strollers, doing tai-chi, and otherwise achieving more before they head off to what I assume to be super-productive jobs than I usually accomplish in a week. This is not good for my self-esteem.

4) Once Sancha has done what she needs to do and I am back home, it is now 6AM and I have absolutely no reason to be awake and no intention to do so. But when I return to bed I have to start my sleep cycle all over, which cuts to zero the chances that I will be a functional human being again before noon. At which point I have to take the dog out for a walk, and I encounter the people mentioned in #3 now taking their lunch breaks (power-walking with their Power Bars), which is just about the final stroke of death to my self-esteem. In order to restore any sense of human worth, I am forced to stay up until 3 AM, which then makes it REALLY annoying to find a dog's nose under my kidneys just two and a half hours later.

5) When I do wake up for the day at whatever shameful hour, I have very foggy memories of what I did and did not do during wake-up #1. Did I feed the dog? Brush my teeth? No major harm from brushing my teeth a second time, but Sancha's increasing girth suggests that she is taking advantage of my morning doubts. When I do wake up with a very clear memory of feeding the dog, I often notice that I also have a very clear memory of, oh, say, buying a miniature Dachsund that turned out to be a rat and then accidentally leaving the store without paying for a knit stocking-cap and then donating it to a tapdancing homeless person in a Detroit Tigers jacket. Sancha knows just how to point out the logical fallacies in this actually having happened, making the connection to the impossibility of self-knowledge or objectivity, and somehow I end up feeding her again.

Well, I know this is an exercise in futility as Sancha can't possibly use the computer, but I just felt like getting it off my chest. The days are getting shorter, at least--I might get until 5:32 tomorrow!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Look at your dog's wrist.

Can't find it, right?

That's because we don't have them--at least not in the shape and position that would make a watch a useful accessory.

Why is this not a problem? Because D*g has created a big ol' watch in the sky, and that's as precise as doggie schedules need to be. When the watch says "sun," dog says "awake." When the watch says "dark," dog says "sleep."

So whatever newfangled, modern technology-enhanced schedule you, my dearest owner, have worked out for yourself, I'm going to be awake and raring to go at... (shuffle, shuffle, check Metro section)... 5:15AM tomorrow, and until those opposable thumbs I ordered come in, you're going to have to be ready to greet the day with me. Adjust your coffee intake accordingly.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My sentiments exactly.

I am ashamed to describe the other photo that accompanied was of a certain Scottish Terrier who has made me really rethink just what it means to be canine. You would think that, dogs being rational, sensitive, and moral animals that we are, a neocon dog would be an existential impossibility. We dogs take pride in not being particularly political animals (if we were, there probably be an untenable level of tax breaks for kibble producers), but I always assumed we were of one mind when it comes to war, torture, social progressivism and the like. So when Mr. Bush first got a dog, I assumed it was a foregone conclusion that this was part of the Canine MoveOn plan. Yes! We had infiltrated! Then when there was no immediate bite, I figured...he's gaining his confidence. He's waiting until Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld are all together before going on a homicidal frenzy. He's trying to get bit by a rabid squirrel first so he can cause maximum damage.

But now it's been years, and there are no reports of a White House Cujo re-enactment. Worse, I fear that Barney and Spot are actually helping Bush, contributing to his image as a likeable, D*g-fearing man. Added on to the bizarre and indefensible actions of those German Shepherds at Abu Ghraib, and I am really beginning to lose faith in my fellow canines. Are these a few bad apples or has there been some horrible paradigm-shift within the species? Is it ignorance? Were they brainwashed? But how can you be brainwashed to abandon your basic doggie dignity and morals? Suddenly I feel this bizarre distrust of my entire species...I look at the dogs in the park and instead of thinking "now that's an interesting-smelling butt!" I'm wondering if it is secretly a Republican asshole.

Is it time to rethink the whole "dog" category and perhaps divide into two? Is the United Species of Dogdom no longer a tenable category? A little kid saw me the other day on my walk, pointed with glee, and cried "Mommy! Fox!" And for the first time in my life, I felt no need to correct him. You don't see any foxes doing photo ops on the White House lawn...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This blogging thing is catching on! A friend at work:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Heat wave '06

Conclusions and Lessons Learned

1) 111 is a perfectly acceptable number for many things. A litter of Dalmatians, for example (give or take 10). A lifespan in dog years. (I of course am exempt here, having been granted immortality, or at least simultaneous mortality with Dale. See previous post, comments section.) Number of times I should be fed per day. Ideal number of pieces of laundry in the hamper for maximum dog bed comfort. Days between baths. To name a few.

111 is NOT an acceptable number for the temperature. (Also unacceptable: sentences which combine the words "ninety-two" and "low".)

2. If one must be subjected to 111 heat, do NOT have a natural body temperature of 106, no sweat glands, and a nonremovable fur coat. (Or belong to any religion which requires you to cover everything but your corneas in heavy black cloth).

3. If one must be subjected to 111 heat and wear a fur coat, have your owner lay out a nice, cold, wet towel for you, to be changed and refreshed hourly. Treatment should be augmented by a regular ice cube massage. (I know this goes against my general water-is-for-fish stance, but sometimes you've got to be flexible. See #5.)

4. Drink and eat lots of nice cold things. Yogurt, for example. However (and this is based on firsthand observation), do not open a yogurt, become distracted, put it somewhere and promptly forget it, go to sleep, leave for work the next morning, and come home to find a terrible odor in the apartment which you conclude must be caused by the wet towels draped for doggie comfort (see #4), run a whole load of laundry (in sweaty, steamy, unairconditioned laundromat), empty most of the entire contents of a can of air freshener into the room, and then decide that you are so hot that you would like a yog....oh.

5. Adapt. Occasional dermatological application of water, while not usually advisable, has its place. If it is too hot to play during the day, have your psychotic energy periods at 3AM.

6. If you are fortunate enough to be able to remove your outer layers (i.e, you are not of the fur coat-stricken species), do not do so in front of your suffering fur-coated friend. Also try to sweat privately--it makes us both jealous and, frankly, kind of grossed out. Think about the odor of that fat guy on the subway, and then imagine having a sense of smell 5,000 times more acute than you do now.

7. Think positive. If your owner has betrayed you for air-conditioned climes, at least you have more time to blog in peace. And remember, it could be worse: you could be a Newfoundland. (If you are a Newfoundland reading this--it could be worse: you could be two Newfoundlands.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm about to give up on all political, policy, or moral issues that don't directly involve my walks, food, or chew toys...but here's one last shot.

Sunnis. Shiites. Jews. Christians. Watch and learn.

This is a cat (see comments) with whom I have had some issues. We have lived in close quarters and yes, there were occasional border skirmishes. I was, I suppose, the occupying power, but I had no other place to go. We both had ancestral ties to the land (my grandmother's house, his mom's) and its sacred sites (the food bowl, the bed). This was all made particularly difficult by the other species co-existing in this pluralistic society (humans, fleas). So I know whereof I speak.

Anyway, this same cat has just linked my previous post to his website. He has also referred to me as "a friend." I am touched, so touched that I am about to boldly go where no dog has gone before. It may not win me immediate fans among the more extremist sectors of the canine community, but I suspect that the hounds will respect my decision and maybe even come around when they see the inner peace and day-to-day tranquillity which this step has created in my life. They will see that I have not compromised my identity as a dog, nor have cats stormed my apartment and replaced my kibble with catnip. So here goes.

Two friends.