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When I got home to a very relieved dog (thanks, Robbin) I checked quickly that the house was ok (laptop & TV still there?) and then went to close the back door. It was in the laundry room that I noticed some stuff had been knocked over. And the feathers.
Now I saw that black feathers were scattered around the door, near the Swheat kitty litter. I went to straighten up the brooms and the clothes rack, and there were clumps of feathers there.

Crime scene 1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There were more feathers by the litter box, and then in the dining room, a horrific amount of evidence

Crime scene 2

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I did a quick peek into the office and the bedroom, but thankfully did not spot a body.  Further investigation had to wait, since the Pupper needed a walk.  Mr. Kitty, who is usually screaming for dinner, was suspiciously quiet.
 
Getting back home, fed the animals, then toured the house.  No body, and the evidence seemed confined to the laundry room, a few pieces of fluffy down in the kitchen and the dog’s bed in the dining room.  Upon closer inspection, the bed was probably where the murder (and subsequent consumption of evidence) was committed.

close-up - blood!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Probable scenario:  Victim fluttered through the door, attracted by the wheat litter; was pounced on, tried to escape by hiding behind the brooms and laundry rack, shedding feathers (wounded); was caught and dragged to the dining room where it was polished off in relative comfort.
 
But who was the perpetrator?  Not Pupper, who has never shown much interest in birds.  Mr. Kitty has caught birds, and although had some skills as a hunter in his halycon days, has never proved very good at the dispatching part.  There’s a strong possibility that a neighbor, known only as Grey Tabby may have been the murderer/diner.  He is young and bold (has come up on the porch and stairs) although wary of Pupper.
Nobody’s talking

I know nuzzin' I was asleep the whole time.

Ya got nothing, copper. No wits, no evidence. Ya can't pin anything on me.

Another one for the cold case file.

I corralled two dogs a couple of days ago. I took Old Pup out to the front for a wee, and saw two Labs, yellow and chocolate, galloping across the yards on the other side of the street. Old Pup took notice of these interlopers, and I called her inside before she could attract their attention. The yellow boy was easy to catch; he was a people loving’ guy, so I just called him into the backyard and closed the gate. The chocolate girl was a little more wary. She would sniff your hand, but dart away if you lifted it to pet her, and was totally uninterested in the duck strip I offered. An across-street-neighbor cooed to her and kept her attention while I ran to get a leash. I gave Chocolate Girl some water, and managed to grab her collar. She was startled, but gentle, and I led her to the gagte where Yellow Boy had stuck his head and front paws through the cat door, trying to get in on the action.

They both started exploring the yard, Chocolate Girl a little agitated. Thinking to distract her, I found an old tennis ball and she was OMG! I was now her BFF! So I threw the ball for her, and she tore after it, ignoring Yellow Boy as he tried to play with her.

I called the animal shelter, and the owners came by about half an hour later. As I watched Old Pup sniff around the yard, peeing to claim it back as her own, I thought about Chocolate Girl’s intense focus on the ball and her coiled energy as she tore up the mulch chasing after it. That was Old Pup before we knew her, when she was Young Pup, blond and buoyant and ball-obsessed. Did she live with a handsome big brown dog, imprinting her for tolerance of that body type? So much lost in the mists of time.

frenchbulldog_360x400You can’t own a dog for ten minutes without learning that chocolate is bad for it. I know it, I swear I do. But Old Pup is out to prove me wrong.

A few weeks ago, I took the Valentine See’s truffles to work, to keep them from the other chocolate hound in the household, DH. Amazingly, I didn’t have any myself, and forgot they were in my bag. The next day, in between household errands, I told DH, “We better stop by the house. I left the See’s candy in my work bag.”

I was a little worried, but while Old Pup can beeline for treats in my fanny pack stored in a bin, she can also be oblivious to goodies in jacket pockets. She could still be asleep…

Opening the front door, I found that my bag had indeed been raided, but all was well. Old Pup had been decoyed by the half-full bag of Hershey Hugs (the white chocolate Kisses), which now lay shredded and empty, with a few stray bits of foil. The golden truffle box was untouched.

Another early morning awakening by Mr. Kitty. Mrar. mrar What time is it?

    2:30

Stagger out of bed to see that yes, he has food, yes he has a litterbox. What do you want, dammit? Back to the warm sheets. Mrar. Mrar Stomp, stomp, stomp. How can little padded paws make so much noise? Mrar. Mrar

Now Old Pup has woken up, and is starting to whine/growl. Hates the cat during the best of times. Okay, ignore Mr. Kitty. Don’t give in, don’t give in. Mrar. Mrar

“I’m going to let him outside,” mumbles DH.

“No, don’t,” I mumble back, knowing the cat will be eaten by ravaging raccoons. An idea occurs and I stumble back to the laundry room, grabbing the bag and pouring more expensive, compostable litter into the box.

At last! Mr. Kitty rushes the box.

With his new food, our cat has gone from never using his box to using it 3x a day or more. We’ll be able to mulch the whole yard by the end of the year with his leavings.

A week before Christmas, my laptop slipped from, yes, my lap, and clunked to the floor. When I scooped it up in some panic, I saw the screen had turned a purplish green, and had a crack running across it. But it wasn’t a crack on the screen itself; at first I thought it was a virtual crack, a tear across the silicon heart. Then I figured out it was the glass/plastic behind the plasma.

DH plugged it into his computer monitor, and I could see that the laptop brain was working okay, but like some poor coma victim, could not communicate with the outside world. Since a consult with the laptop repair shop would start at $100 (more than the old Dell is now worth) so the decision was made to pull the plug.

So the frantic search began for a new laptop. I had made a reconnaissance mission to Best Buy, and then came back home to research, research, research (on Dh’s laptop). First thing I found was that ‘laptop’ is 20th century lingo, and you now want to say ‘notebook’ to sound at all credible.  Second thing is that there is now  a ‘netbook’, the Mini-Me of lap..notebooks.  They are about the size of a kid’s paperback, and weigh approximately as much.  I was really, really taken with a netbook, but had concede that the screen was just too small for these boomer eyes.

DH came with me for the final; and we went on a wild goose chase to Frys, where the Toshiba bait and switch ($450) wouldn’t even boot up; then back to Best Buy, where the $399 laptop of my dreams was not  just out of stock, but out of  production.  I was desolate (DH will attest to that; since I wouldn’t speak to him on the ride home).  He said I could use his, but I wanted my own — to load up with all the junk that had slowed my Dell down to a crawl.

Lo and behold, I open the Sunday paper to find out Office Depot is has another model of my dream laptop on sale, with even more memory.  I impatiently go through the motions of farmers market, and hustle DH over to Office Depot.  There’s no notebook on display, which send me plummeting back to despair, but DH asks the nice clerk, who ascertains that yes, it is actually in stock.  I verify that it has a) a media card slot, b) 3 USB ports and c) wireless and I decide to get it.  I even shell out for the Office Depot premium protection that is almost half the price of the laptop, but offers security from any lap malfunctions.   Lucky that the surface doesn’t show fingerprints, because I have no money left to buy this

It’s a great little laptop (‘Laptop’ is easier to type than ‘notebook’, so heck with it, I’m old-fashioned):  sleek, light and fast.  I can actually surf the web while my McAfee virus scans.

Wonder how long that will last.

We went to two holiday parties over the weekend, and both houses were done up to the Christmas nines. Nutcracker scatter rugs, red candles on the mantel, tree-shaped soaps in the guest bathroom. Meanwhile, we hadn’t even gotten the boxes down from the attic.

I used to be good about Christmas. I had tree decorating parties. I made šližikai, I put up stockings. Now I can barely drape tinsel around the giant carp.   How did life get so busy?

I did put reindeer antlers on the dog and the cat. That has to count for something.

Saw this today, and too charming not to share:

http://www.vimeo.com/433218

(since it’s not a Google or YouTube video, I can’t imbed it without a lot of tapdancing). Note: It doesn’t buffer while loading, so it stutters a bit. Much smoother viewing if you play it a second time.

I can be a sucker for a patriotic pop culture riff. I am very fond of the Schoolhouse Rock preamble; and NPR’s Declaration of Independence.