Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Slug Salad Anyone?

It's been raining the past couple days and for S. Cal residents that means an uprooting of slime creatures from deep beneath the earth. Earth worms, snails, slugs, pupae, all sorts of slime bombs pepper our lawn and patio. It also means that when we let Wrigley out to do his business, he sometimes returns with one of these suckers latched onto his fur! After a few google searches, this is what this morning's creature looked like...

Here's a close up of the head....

So I dug a little deeper and wanted to find out safe ways to eradicate these pests. One picture on a website I found, left me thoroughly amused so I had to share it on here.

This is a picture of a slug found in parts of Mexico and Florida....

And here is a diagram of the slug's working parts....

Yes, the anal flap and the genital pore caused me to chuckle but what I found most amusing was the scientific name for this slug...

"Vaginula plebeia". Coincidence??? I doubt it. I'm guessing a man came up with this one.

Wrigley, a dog living on the edge...

Last night I was getting ready for dinner with some friends. Had a few things to prepare before I left and was and was flitting between the main living part of the house (where we keep Wrigs sectioned off by a dog gate) and the rest of the house, which includes the stairs to the second floor. I had my hands full at one point and left the gate open on one of my trips upstairs so Wrigs had run of the house and of course took full advantage. He twirls around in the living room a few times and then bolts upstairs and heads straight through our bedroom and into my closet, his usual routine. Within seconds he's flying down the stairs with a mouthful of socks from the laundry basket. I chase him around a while, and finally pull out the soaking socks. Two different socks were in his mouth, one hanging out the front and the other way back towards his throat. I've learned through experience with this beast to always check the back of his throat because he usually hoards stuff back there for safe keeping.

I chuck the socks into the laundry room and head into the study to check on a software update in mid process on our home computer. I'm in there for less than 5 minutes when I realize it's too quiet. I call Wrig's name, but no response. I run upstairs check each room, no Wrigs to be found. So back down I go and as I head into the family room I see him curled up on his dog bed playing quietly with... a toy? Hmm, let me take a closer look. That doesn't look like a toy? As I get closer he chomps the thing all the way into his mouth so I can't see what it is. On the ground next to his dog bed sits a pointed white cap. I pick up the cap covered in teeth marks and now realize Wrigley has a bottle of opened Jewelry glue in his mouth. I scream at him and he sits up at attention and I pry open his jowls and remove the glue. "F**K! F**K! F**K!" I say out loud and begin to panic. Wrigley is fiercely licking his lips still fixated on the bottle in my hand. I immediately head into the kitchen and call the vet. It's 6:45 and the receptionist tells me that the Dr. just left but her experience with glue is to get the animal in and induce vomiting right away. I'm reading the glue bottle and it lists no ingredients or any warnings of toxicity so I explain this to the receptionist and she still thinks I need to get him in. As we're talking I google the glue name and manufacturer and still can't find anything about the ingredients in the glue. I then decide to call Poison Control. This number should be on our speed dial by now. If you've ever called them for anything, they charge a $55 consultation fee for any question or concern. I've had to call them once or twice...ok, THREE times- but once was actually for Chumley. He had swallowed a glob of prescription strength dry skin cream that was loaded with toxins and had poison warnings all over the tube. That was scary. But in no time he was able to throw EVERYTHING up and what didn't make it out the front end came violently pouring out the back end. I'm getting off track, back to Wrigs.

So I'm on the phone with poison control and I give them as much information as I can about the glue and approximately how much Wrigs ingested. Luckily it was a small bottle so I estimated about an ounce. They had me on hold for a while so I just kept googling stuff listed on the glue bottle while I waited. There was an AP symbol on the bottle which thankfully led me to this information below. Those of you with children and/or pets who like to get into everything may find this very useful information.....

"The new AP (Approved Product) Seal, with or without Performance Certification, identifies art materials that are safe and that are certified in a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, including children, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. This seal is currently replacing the previous non-toxic seals: CP (Certified Product), AP (Approved Product), and HL Health Label (Non-Toxic) over a 10-year phase-in period. Such products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236, and the U. S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA). Additionally, products bearing the AP Seal with Performance Certification or the CP Seal are certified to meet specific requirements of material, workmanship, working qualities, and color developed by ACMI and others through recognized standards organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Some products cannot attain this performance certification because no quality standard currently exists for certain types of products."

For more information here is a link to the Art and Creative Materials Institute website....
  • ACMI

  • As it turned out, Wrigs was fine. He drank lots of water and we fed him about half his dinner per the advice of Poison Control. I ended up staying with him on the couch the whole night and didn't sleep much because he gets so excited when he has an overnight guest. Every hour or so he'd jump up on me (literally ON me, on my chest and stomach) and lick my face and cuddle into my neck. It would be cute if he wasn't pushing 80 lbs. But, I guess I wouldn't want it any other way.

    Tuesday, January 30, 2007

    Rest in Peace Barbaro

    You were an amazing athlete. I'll never forget watching you race and then suddenly stumbling but still trying to go on. Tom and I sat in silence staring at the television and then we turned to look at each other, both of us welled up with tears. You are a true champion and will be missed.

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    Our House is SO Cold that...

    I wear a puffy ski jacket, scarf and gloves while inside. It's uncomfortably cold. We have portable heaters that we cart around from room to room because our central heating system doesn't do much to warm it up. The heat vents are positioned way up high on the walls and we have no floor heating system so all the heat does is rise up to the ceiling. I've also knitted a warming accessory I like to call a "nose cozy" that I wear on the tip of my nose which ties around my head to keep my nose warm since my nose is always ice cold. Yesterday it was 76 degrees outside but inside the house it's a chilly 59. So I'm bundled up in my black ski jacket, purple gloves and nose cozy and head outside to get the mail. Just as I'm about to exit our porch area I decide I better remove the nose cozy. And it's a good thing I did because I see a couple neighbors outside wearing t-shirts and shorts and here I come dressed for a blizzard! My jacket makes that swishing noise as I move my arms so I try not to move them so much then I smile at my neighbors while waving my fuzzy purple hand thinking, THANK GOD I took off that nose cozy! I would have looked like such a FOOL!

    The Furminator

    For years Tom and I anticipated the day that we would be settled into a house with a yard so that we could welcome a dog into our home. In Chicago we lived on the 3rd floor of a walk up, had a great roof top deck, but no yard. In Minnesota we get the yard but decided after a month straight of below freezing temps that domestic animals should remain indoors from October to March. So off to S. California we go and after living in a townhouse for almost 3 years we were ready for our house with a yard. Or as they are more commonly referred to here, patches of grass.

    We decided on a Golden Retriever as Tom grew up with them his whole life and loved them dearly. His mother was involved with the Golden Retriever Rescue chapter back in Illinois and had welcomed many into to her home to rehabilitate for permanent placement. She also bred and trained Golden's for Canine Companions which provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. So a Golden it was going to be. We had always checked the Sunday paper for Golden litters in the area and then did more online research to ensure we were dealing with a reputable breeder. Initially I wanted to get an older dog as I wasn't sure I would be able to handle the difficult puppy months (more like years?) and of course I am an animal rescue advocate (who isn't) but we also had to take into account our other 4 legger, Chumley. So after careful thought and consideration we believed it would be a good idea to start with a puppy who could better adapt to Chumley's rage and psychotic outbursts. Our pup would just think that all cats are deranged lunatics! But we also figured it would be a good opportunity to test our patience level and nurturing skills.

    So a couple weeks after we settle into our home we find a breeder in Riverside, about an hour and a half away. She posts photos of her recent litter on her website and that's when we see Bear, known now as our Wrigley Bear. The name fits because he looked like a stuffed teddy bear. We fall in LOVE with him over the internet so Tom asks me to call the breeder and find out some more information. The breeder, Nancy and I talk for an hour. We instantly hit it off and I tell her that we are interested in a particular pup we spotted on her website. She then tells me that a woman is coming to take Bear (also after seeing him online) but assured me that we'd fall in love with any of her pups and to come out and take a look. So feeling a bit disappointed, I call Tom at work and he says, "I'm on my way." Then off we go to Riverside...just to look.

    Nancy greets us outside and tells us that Bear did not find a home today. The woman who came to pick him up had decided that he had such a fuzzy coat, one of the fuzziest she's ever seen and that she knew he would be quite a shedder so she opted for a pup with less fluff. I thought to myself, "That's a silly reason. How bad can it be?"

    It's been 9 months now and this dog has undercoats, overcoats, topcoats, it's never ending. The fur above is just from this evening's combing and I could still comb gobs more but my arm was getting tired. I wish there was a way to recycle all this fur into something useful. Maybe we could use it as insulation for our freezing house. But thankfully, we've discovered The Furminator which is a wonder tool for furry pets. We also have one in a smaller size for Chumley but after one attempt I've realized it's not worth losing an eye ball to try and Furminate the cat.

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    The Ultimate "Mom" Jeans

    (by the way it's been almost 3 weeks and I'm still not completely done with my closet)

    And one reason it takes me close to a decade to get organized is because I have to try everything on, twice, incorporating different accessories, shoes, hand bags, you name it. Another reason is I'm a compulsive saver and I like to reflect on my soon to be cast aways and recall where I was and what was going on in the world while sporting acid washed jeans and monster heeled Doc Martens. And take photos. But, in the back of my mind I always hear a voice that whispers, "Don't throw it away, this is bound to make vintage status in just a few more years." So I chuck it back into the giant blue plastic tub and wait...and...wait...and yep, still waiting. I must say though, this time around I was on a mission to PURGE.

    Especially after I tried on these CK jeans cir. 1992...(Wow - just realized that was 15 years ago - well at least they still fit me... sort of.)

    I was a mere sophomore in college and it's amazing I was able to get, I mean- have dates back then, while wearing the likes of these. And check this out. For old time's sake I even pegged (remember that word?) the bottom of the jeans and took some photos to take you all back to the days when we obviously thought walking around dressed like morons was in fashion. I thought the black socks added a nice touch...

    So to compare, I took a picture of my present day jeans (still wearing the same shirt and belt) so I could note some of the obvious differences between the two. Old jeans on the left, new jeans on the right.

    1) the zipper on my jeans today is about 6 inches shorter.
    2) these jeans actually conform to my body rather than bulge out in certain places making it appear as though I have a malformed pelvic region.
    3) the button on the jeans rests comfortably just below my navel instead of my sternum.
    4) you can now see my entire shirt as opposed to just the top half.

    I have told Tom that as a joke I think it would be funny if I came to meet him for lunch wearing my old jeans, pegged at the bottom. He didn't seem to find the humor in that. Fuddy Duddy. Perhaps he will when I make my surprise visit to his office. Could he get fired for that since he works in fashion? It definitely qualifies as a fashion crime. Hmmm, I better think twice about this one.

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    Just when I thought our cat coudn't get any weirder...

    He now likes to sit in the kitchen sink. He just sort of hangs out in there, watches me pitter around in the kitchen and occasionally contorts his neck 180 degrees to have a drink from the faucet. It would be much easier if he'd just turn around and face the faucet, but that would make sense. So instead he does it his way.

    Wrigley is not really sure what to make of all of this, so he checks up on him from time to time. "Maybe Chumley wants a bath?" He asks me innocently.

    "No. I don't think so." I tell him. But I do think he'd like a gentle scratch on the head from his Dad.

    See? Chumley can be sweet. As a reward for good (although odd) behavior, I cook him up a nice batch of hot broccoli. One of his favorites. Ummm Mmmm, scrumptious.

    About a half hour later it's off to the litter box he goes. Just as soon as he's finished Tom pleads with me to please stop feeding the cat broccoli. I tell him ok, no more broccoli. Chumley and I share a wink and a laugh, then he saunters back into the kitchen to sample some more goodies....

    Monday, January 08, 2007

    Soda or Pop? (update from previous post)

    I think I'm the only one that cares about this so since this is my journal, albeit public, I'll post it. I'll look back 20 years from now and reflect on how much of a dork I am. I do this on a consistent basis anyway so it's par for the course.

    So Tom comes home from work and I let him unwind for a few minutes, then I start to make a new Target list and ask him if there's anything he needs. He says no a couple of times then I ask, "How about anything to eat or drink?" He replies, "Oh yeah, Diet Coke." Of course he says that. I tell him that since we're on this caffiene free kick, aside my from 2 a.m. cups of java I'm going to purchase some other carbonated beverages. (just to clarify I'm not drinking AT 2 a.m. as in the morning, but 2 cups of coffee IN the a.m., although if I was chugging coffee at 2 a.m. that would explain my sleep disorders!)

    So anyway, I wanted to try a couple other brands besides Coke and I say to Tom, "What's another word for carbonated beverages? I don't want to have to write all that out on my list." Clever, no? He raises his eyebrows at me and says "Are you kidding?" I then play along a little and say, "Come on! What's that word!! Ugh, I can't think of it! What the heck is that word for carbonated drinks?" He's now looking at me like I have 3 heads and then says slowly and quietly, "Soda water?" I start to laugh and say "No, the word for carbonated drinks, like Coke and Pepsi, you know!" Then he immediately rattles off with no pauses in between as if it were all one word, "Pop-Bubbly-Spritzer?" So I'm still not really sure if he's a Soda or a Pop man after all this. But I am certain that he thinks I'm losing my mind one tiny brain cell at a time.


    It's now day 6 of my total closet re-org project and all seems to be going well. I took a much needed day and a half hiatus from the project due to mother nature. Let's just say PMS and closet cleaning are never to be attempted in concert. Aside from a knock down drag out fight between myself and a ganglia of unruly wire hangers, I have emerged victorious, with just a few minor scratches. The hangers, however, weren't so lucky. Actually after the battle was won, many of them didn't even look like hangers anymore. I tried to re-bend and contort them into somewhat of a hanger shape so I can drop them off at the dry cleaners where I will gladly hand them off to become someone else's source of frustration.

    Last Christmas both my mother and mother-in-law bought me a set of
  • Huggable Hangers
  • Neither one was aware of the other's purchase. Coincidence? I think not. They both know I need help when it comes to my disaster zone of a closet. Let me tell you, these things are amazing! I can see why they are called Huggable Hangers because I just want to hug each and every one of them. But it's pretty hard to embrace a hanger. I don't recommend it. But your clothes will cling onto these hangers for dear life. Not even an earthquake will cause the tiniest of spaghetti straps to falter. They are truly remarkable. And this year for my birthday, my mother-in-law sent me another batch so now I have retired EVERY last wire hanger in my closet and it's incredibly liberating! I no longer have to claw through mounds of clothes scattered on the floor like a savage beast trying to find what it is I'm looking for. Anyone in need of a closet overhaul, look no further. You've found your salvation.

    We're not in Kansas anymore...

    I had an epiphany today. This morning as I was writing out my tri-weekly Target list, I subconsciously wrote down a word that I don't think I've ever actually written in my life. See if you can pick it out. Here are a few items from the list:

    Paper Towels
    Scotch Tape
    Excedrin Migraine
    Caffiene Free Soda
    Chewy Bones

    Can you find the word in question? I'll give you a hint. You drink it. DING DING DING!!! It's soda! Since when does a beef eating, corn cobbling mid-westerner ever utter (or in my case write) the word S-O-D-A when referring to the carbonated fiz more commonly known as pop?!? This is truly a day to write home about. I think I can officially call myself a full fledged Californian after today. I'll need to consult with my better half when it comes to this and see what term pops out of his mouth (no pun intended).

    Oh this will be a fun experiment. I'll try and catch him unawares and see where his allegiance lies. I'll ask him tonight if there's anything he needs from Target but... I know he'll just say Diet Coke so I'll have to get creative. Maybe I'll ask him something casual like, "What category would Coke fall into because I'm creating a new spreadsheet itemizing all our household purchases in an effort to save money in 2007 and although Coke falls into a beverage category I'd like to be more specific and have a "carbonated beverage" line item but that won't fit into the spreadsheet field so what's another word for carbonated beverage sweetie?" That's my plan. I've got it. Sorry for the babble. This was me just thinking out loud.

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Closet Re-org 2007

    One of my objectives for 2007 is to simplify and de-clutter. Actually this has been my yearly objective since 2002 so 5 years now! It started after we purchased our home in Minnesota, when we started accumulating a lot more STUFF (clothes and shoes included.) So I'm finally attempting to organize my closet which really has never been organized since we moved into this house, which I'm embarrassed to admit was in April. I have a very hard time with this because I can't stay focused long enough to complete this task and I find it hard to make decisions on what should stay and what can be tossed or given to Goodwill so instead my closet ends up in complete chaos which then spills into the adjoining rooms. Sometimes it looks as though we live in squalor and I'm really trying to make an effort to finish this project and live with less mess. Here are some pics of the spillage effect...

    Can you find Chumley in this picture? He popped into the doorway right as I took the pic. He's always watching whatever I do in a sinister like way. Sometimes I swear he just appears out of nowhere. And sometimes it really freaks me out.

    Ok back to my mess. Here's a pic looking the other way...

    I have made several unsuccessful attempts at finding places for all this stuff and I will use this mornings attempt as an example of why this is so difficult for me. I had a pool of handbags on the closet floor because I change my mind so frequently when it comes to bags and unfortunately I don't end up putting them away. Same goes for belts too. They just seem to make their way to the ground and snake around the piles until you can't see any speck of the floor. So as Tom was getting ready for work this morning he said to me, Ok just focus on the handbags, nothing else. Please just start with getting those off the floor and putting those away.

    Fine, I start picking up one, then two, then of course I have to look in the bags and see what's inside. Gum, several packs. Is it still good? I don't know let's sit down and chew some pieces. Tastes ok but sort of loses it's flavor too fast. Tom do you want some gum? Next. Tiny bottle of hair spray. So cute! But not much left so I better get the big bottle under the sink and refill my purse sized bottle in case I run out. Oh boy it's been a while since I've cleaned out the stuff under my sink. Stuff is spilling all over the place and gross, some of the jars are leaking. I've got to get some containers for these bottles and cosmetics that are over flowing. Oh, I know - I have a bunch of fun holiday boxes I can use that I saved from Christmas! Into the kitchen I go for some boxes. Hmmm, still have lots of holiday treats in here. That's ok I'll just take them out and put them in ziploc baggies. Ok where are the ziploc baggies? Tom? Did you use the last of the ziploc bags?? Great, we are out of baggies. I could have sworn I just bought some. Oh no I meant to buy them at Target last time I was there but I forgot! I knew there was one last thing I needed to get - Damn I hate when that happens. Ok so I better make sure to write this down. Let me just quickly start a new shopping list for my next trip to Target. Target list: ziploc bags. Ok, what was I doing down here?

    Oh that's right I was going to start putting away the Christmas decorations.

    My Dog Has a Fat Ass

    It's time for some exercise. He also likes to lay in weird positions that I think would be uncomfortable but apparently not for him. Here he is resting peacefully next to his chewy bone. Notice the gigantic mound of poop (dog poop that is) outside on the patch of grass.

    But look at the way he bends his neck. It looks so strained. That cannot be comfortable. But regardless, he still has a fat ass.

    Monday, January 01, 2007

    Sweet dreams drunken stranger...

    Nothing rings in the new year like a passed out party goer asleep on your front lawn. Sadly though, this person wasn't at our party. On New Year's eve Tom and I had a simple get together with my sister and her husband but our neighbor's 2 doors down had a total blow out bash straight out of a John Hughes movie. It was still going strong, LOUD music and all into the wee hours of the morning (Wow, I'm getting older) and many party people were outside dancing, singing, yelling and stumbling around. Tom and I were peeping out the guest room window watching all the shenanigans when all of a sudden we see this one fellow stagger up the sidewalk. We were afraid he was about to get into a car and drive off but lucky for us he took a few more steps and ended up falling down smack dab in our driveway. He rolled around for a little while and then clumsily sat back up and put his head between his legs and then toppled over yet again. Tom and I were thoroughly entertained by this and kept trying to stifle our laughter in case the drunkard could hear us and become enraged. A few minutes go by and he tries to sit up again which takes all of his concentration and strength. He succeeds somewhat but his movement is still very unsteady, like he's made of silly putty. So as he wobbles on our driveway it looks as if he is trying to catch his breath but then he starts to dry heave and THEN... proceeds to vomit down our driveway. After witnessing that, I almost did the same.

    So when he finished spewing out the remainder of his liquor filled stomach he rolls over and decides to curl up on the grass for a nice nap. I tell Tom that I MUST get a picture of this but he's not so sure this is a good idea. I was ready to walk straight out the front door and flash a head on photo of our lawn guest but Tom thought I should try and take it from the garage window without disturbing him. So as I do this I'm standing on top of a plastic tennis ball container because the windows in the garage are too high for me to see and I start flashing some pics. It's way too dark but the pic above was the best I could get. I was also trying to make scary noises when I was in the garage in an effort to freak him out so he'd get up and run (more like crawl and stumble) away. I made some drawn out Ooooooooo sounds in a deep eerie pitch, like the stuff you hear on Halloween tapes but that didn't seem to work.

    I realized our real life Long Duk Dong was not going anywhere soon so I debated on which dog blanket I should use to cover him. By the time I decided, 2 men from the party make their way up the sidewalk and spot their buddy asleep in our grass. They slowly and carefully get him back up on his feet each man supporting him from either side. He was whisked away, put into a car (as a passenger of course) and was never to be seen again.

    So can you guess the first thing we did on New Year's day 2007???