Tuesday, April 19, 2011

North Dakota and It's Pathetic Version of Spring

April showers bring. . . . wind chills? (And the wind actually blew down our basket ball hoop, hitting the back window of my car! It didn't break; just scraped a swatch across the window.)

Oh, and we have another 6 to 8 inches predicted tonight.

Guess we'll just have to stay inside a little longer and find something else to do.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Well, Would YOU stick a matchstick up her butt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

Now this is a title that REALLY demands an explanation! Doug and I are now Petco Puppy Kindergarten dropouts, after one day. We had an experience with a trainer that I am finding to be just plain out bizarre! Have you ever had one of those experiences where you hear something, and then your head goes into this twilight zone where you try to figure out if you REALLY heard that? Like maybe, you just had this little hiccup in your ear or something, and No-she-did-not say that?

Except she did.

Doug and I joined one of those obedience classes for new puppies to just work on the basic commands. . . like walk on a leash, don't eat the guests.

We should have been suspicious when it turned out that we were the only ones in the puppy class.

The trainer asked how it was going with housetraining, and we said that it was really going quite well, better than expected. The intrepid little Ruby does have occasional poddy accidents in the house, but we're pretty pleased about how that's going. Could we get some suggestions for walking on a leash.

I swear, the woman has an anal fixation!

She said we HAD to reward Ruby with a treat outside every times she goes. OK, we could do that. . . can't see what it would hurt, except to be a nuisance, since she does this just fine.

And THEN she said, (and not even Dave Barry would make this up!), "And to get her to poop, light a match, put vaseline on it, and stick it up her butt."

"What?" And my brain does this strange sloshing from side to side in my skull at this point, thinking it's maybe like lighting a match if someone makes the rest room unusually stinky.

And she says, "Well, not lit still of course. Ha Ha."

"Why? She goes just fine!"

"Because she'll push against it, just like you did with your babies and thermometers." (ummmmm, no!)

She said we could not get a refund after that evening. We went into Petco and got a refund of $99.95 the next morning.

This little gem of wisdom was also mixed in with extensive hawking of the Petco products, and telling us that most likely Ruby would need intensive individual training by her privately, because she's "a certified dog trainer with 50 years experience." (She looked to be about 55 years old, so she must of started with butts and matchsticks at about the age of 5!)

Any other Petco customers wandering by were also fair prey for her to promote her therapeutic methods at her private business as well. She told one couple who was expecting a baby in a few weeks that their large boxer, who had recently been attacked by another dog that their dog could now later shows signs of trauma, and their baby could be at risk. She gave the couple her card.

She also taught us the "Therapeutic Grab and Hug" for "brain recovery," which all puppies need. (?) This involved rolling Ruby over on her back, sticking our hands in her mouth, and as she'd tried to bite, growling/shrieking "Off!" , with our other hand in a claw as if to strike at her, and as she stopped biting (or cowered) massaging her vigorously all over.

I know some trainers do recommend alpha rolls and dog massage, but someone please tell me it doesn't start with this harsh approach to a 10 week old puppy!

So here's the reason Doug and I continue to be tired, but you know what? She's not nearly as tiring as making sense of some of the craziness out there!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oops! Here are the Cuties in Mexico!

Thanks, Maria! I made a reference to these two cuties we spotted from our balcony in Mexico, but my photo didn't post. Here it is:

We could see them from the balcony of our room--the first room, that is. We happened to have the "fortune" to be right across the Teatro in the resort, so each night, between 9:30 pm and 11:30 pm, music blasted through our room and our bones. We could see the stage from our balcony, and under some conditions, this would be a "feature," but especially since we'd all had about 2 hours sleep the night before our 5 am flights, we really wanted to sleep. Their "Michael Jackson" revue (and I wish I could spell phonetically how Me-KELL' YACK'-sen was pronounced, loudly, repetitively) just wasn't conducive sleep.)

But they nicely moved us the next day to another room. And we couldn't spy on our neighbors on the balcony anymore.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mexico and No Mercy for Ice Cubes

There was a welcome gift in our room the first night in Mexico. I dutifully wrapped this in bubble wrap to bring home and we've never really figured out exactly what it is (the liquor; not the grapes!). But I also forgot it in my luggage. . . which was lost. .. and caused me great angst thinking that Customs Officials were coming for me, because when I was asked about liquor, I said "no." (Because I forgot, not because I'm inherently a felon.)

But there would have been liquor, (tequilla) if our adventure to Walmart in Mexico had worked out a little better. (That's a story for another day.)

We had two rooms in Mexico, and look at these two cuties we spotted from the balcony of our room:

And what's a post, without a video to make sense of the title? Here you see the intrepid hunter dog showing her prowess in the wilds of our living room, stalking a possible threat to humankind:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

But Where Did Angela Go? (and spring equinox at Chichen Itza)

. . . . those of you who are quite bored may have asked.

Well, I went to three places, two of which are not for the faint of heart.

First, I went to the Puppy Dimension. As the astute reader may recall, I embarked on a campaign to soften Doug's heart to the idea of getting a new dog, after we lost The Beautiful Ms. Bonnie last July. Doug said, "No more dogs." I co-opted the Netflix que and ordered doggie tearjerkers , movie after movie, until the poor man was absolutely red-eyed and chafed nosed. Then I would occasionally whistfully comment on how when he would do something that would raise the hackles of one's spouse, I would chant my mantra, "but he picks up dog-poop, so deserves a lot of grace," . . . and those good times were over.

So Ruby Baby, aka Ruby Beast, aka Ruby the Rascal has come to live with us and keep us on our toes.

And the 2nd place for the not-faint-of-heart was Cyber Hell. My hard drive crashed. The new hard drive also crashed because of the crazy Acronis back-up program (don't buy it!). The computer then had "heat sink issues" (whatever that means!), and my wonderful husband said that (not only could I have a puppy!!!!!!!) but I could get a new computer.

Since I had no back-ups of all of my software and settings, I've had to start from scratch with Photoshop settings, and then monitor calibration, preferred sharpening, sizing, color workspaces for web, for printing, for everything, etc. Sheer torture.

And then Ruby (the Beast) chewed up the data cord to my external hard drive. Just enough to make it inconsistent. So I replaced the external hard drive, transferred everything over. . . . to a new external hard drive that failed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And bought a new one, which now works, and was able to finally, get all my old photos onto it.

(Do you hear the important lesson in all this? Back up, back up, back up. Many ways, on many media.)

And we went some place else! Doug and I went to Mexico, with all three of my children and the wonderful Elizabeth, Scott's fiance.

There is no more perfect place to go in March, when your departure point is the horrific Winter of North Dakota!

This is a photo at Chichen Itza, a Mayan Ruin on the Yucatan peninsula. We had the extraordinary good fortune to get to be there during the spring equinox. (I'll write more about this later.)

If you look closely at the photograph, you'll see a snake head at the base of the ruin on the left side. Between 4:30 and 5:30 pm, during the spring equinox, if the sun is shining, it strikes one corner of the structure, creating a shadow on the other corner, creating the illusion of a snake body slithering down the side of the building.