Saturday, March 8, 2014

For the loss - first sunburn of the season

Somehow, I managed to get a wicked neck-arm sunburn at the dog park today. Yes, even though it is in fact only just March.


I also had the great displeasure of seeing a large mixed breed mongrel dog absolutely maul a very, very tiny Corgi puppy. The owner of the big dog did NOTHING. Only an English bulldog and her owner managed to save the puppy. I hope the little Corgi is okay...but I really don't know.

At least one person got bit. :(

Gracie, unlike many other dogs, watched from a safe distance of about twenty feet or so.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Missionary Zeal

Partner and I had the discussion a couple nights ago around the dinner table: how many kids that you went to high school with became missionaries? I think the question was sparked by something on the television in the other room. Anyway, for him, the answer was zero; for me, the answer was six, including missionary spouses. That really surprised him - Yankee Catholic urbanite that he is verses former Southern Baptist suburbanite that I am.

And I also had the realization that I saw those kids on one side and me on the other now, that we play for completely different teams. They go for the authoritarian superstition represented by the church whereas I support the free flow of knowledge, ideas, and information represented by the public library (governmental services). Totally different ways of championing mostly incompatible value systems.

I'm not shocked that I haven't heard from any of these people in fifteen years. And I guess that adds another layer of explanation to why I feel no compulsion to reach out to my former classmates.

I just never really looked at their life course compared to mine before. I wouldn't have expected the overwhelming sense of surprise. You know?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Like a Bad Neighbor

I have a ton of things I would rather post about, including the Winter Olympics, local restaurants, and of course, my dog; however, here I am, stuck writing an unpleasant sort of post about the place I live and the people there.

Tangentially, this is about my dog. As a puppy of about 8.5 weeks old, she ran up to my neighbor's shrew wife, barking her head off, after jumping out of the car and darting away from me. Gracie is nothing if not enthusiastic and people-oriented. My neighbors threw a huge bitch-fit about being scared of dogs. I have sympathy for people who are scared of dogs. I was one of them for the first three decades of my life! But even at my worst, I was never scared of puppies. Seriously, people, a puppy? Actually, I doubt they are afraid of dogs at all, but are rather disapproving of something else...

Anyway, that was right at two years ago now. I do my best to keep her on a leash, even if it is a bit longer than the oh-so traditional six-footer. My partner is has at times been markedly less compliant in this, primarily in the name of training, recall, and exercise. He wants her to learn. I would rather him consider where we are.

My neighbor has repeatedly accused us of allowing Gracie into his yard. Other than a couple loose-puppy forays, all well over a year and a half ago now, that's a lie. We do have several roving dogs in the neighborhood - an American bulldog, two medium-sized pitbulls, and a pit-Labrador (pitador) mix - but Gracie doesn't go toward their yard even when she does manage to seize a few minutes of freedom from her too-trusting handlers. She heads for the woods where the deer are, more often than not dragging her leash behind her (and laughing, I'm sure). End of story.

Several months ago my partner had a clash with the neighbor about some Sunday evening yard noise, which ended with the neighbor hurling some racist slurs at my partner and calling the police to report our dog for trespassing - again, like I said, he's a liar and I would print his name if only I knew it for sure.

Early this evening, we had Gracie tethered at the back door for about ten minutes because we both got in too late this afternoon to take her anywhere to play or go on a long walk. She barked a couple times, so partner stepped out. Dickhead next door was standing at the property line with his cell phone, recording her. We think he must have done something to antagonize her, as Gracie isn't a huge barker, except in the car. We also saw him outside at the curb in front of our house, taking pictures or recording, about twenty minutes later.

Now, here's something really odd. One day this week - either Tuesday or Wednesday, I think - something upset Gracie enough for her to paw at the front blinds. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when we aren't home, so I'm wondering if the neighbor came into the yard or maybe even peered in through our windows. But if so, why? We have a great security system, for which Gracie is an adequate back-up, and no obvious signs of undue affluence. It's a poorer neighbor with periodic crime issues. What would have been the motive? She was still very upset when partner got home.

I can't prove the guy next door did anything. It's only our word against his for the filming and pictures. I could quietly file a report, or I could in a decent area, but I'm not sure about here. Partner is mega-upset, but after dealing with the police last time, their treatment has made him reluctant to go to them for assistance, especially given the racial issues at play in our neighborhood and community as a whole.

The reason I'm posting this is primarily to have some record of our concerns in case the neighbor does anything rash. I don't know that it would ever be found, if we were killed or something, but the Internet has long been the repository of everything. Let it keep this account too.

Advice is welcome.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The less fun side of winter

I live south of Atlanta, so not surprisingly I'm without power right now and have been for about 13 hours. Except for 20 minutes of power in the mid afternoon. Thanks for that, GA power, for that false hope. Partner cooked dinner in the fireplace. We raided every closet for spare blankets. If not for our dog, we would have gone to a hotel. Not many pet friendly options out there.

It isn't exactly the kind of fun we had two weeks ago.

We're sleeping downstairs with the dog tonight.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

I don't know if our little bitty snow storm made news outside the area, but in Georgia 2 - 3 inches is a huge deal. I was sent home from work at 1:45 and partner couldn't finish his business out there and ended up taking two hours to drive seven miles! This is what it looked like near the woods behind the house. Not too shabby, but still...not exactly epic, right?
Gracie loved it! She had never seen more than a few errant flakes before. She totally digs the snow, despite greeting it with a warning growl at first. Plus the cold doesn't seem to phase her at all, but then, she was bred for the weather of central Europe, including some of its more elevated areas. 

She especially enjoyed rolling in the snow and then shaking it off her coat. I wish she had held still a bit more, so I could get some cute greeting card shots for next Christmas, but she's a puppy and never holds still for anything. Ever.

I'm so glad she got to have this experience. Not every dog lives long enough to see this sort of snowfall in our part of Georgia.

Lucky girl.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Out in Nature - Trip to Morgan Grove

Despite the high today only reaching about 47F, we ventured out to give the dog some outdoor time and made our first trip to one of the newest parks around here - Morgan Grove. It's located just south of Fayetteville. The site is actually very primitive - gravel entrance and parking, unimproved trails, etc. - but really neat too.

The picture to the left and below here are of the meadow, taken from the trail, which is only about a mile, round trip, including the loop down to the creek and back up. Today, it was cold enough for the creek to have a skin of ice on it (not pictured), but with the sun and the native plants blocking the wind, it wasn't too bad.

I'm certain I'm allergic to everything in these fields, but the pines.

 The trail itself was a mixture of sand, mud, rocks, moss, and low grass/weeds, making it a little treacherous because of muddy and slippery areas, but still easier walking by far than Line Creek Nature Area. Hint: no exposed roots.

 At a couple points, the trail had been blocked by fallen limbs and an actual fallen pine tree of some significant size and dimension that hopefully the Rec Department will move soon, unless they're leaving it for Southern Conservation Trust to handle.

I would like to post some images of spring in a couple months, but I might need a nudge to remember to do that.

Gracie had an especially nice time, although she did attract the attention of two gigantic dogs who apparently live at the house adjacent the park. One looked to be an American Bulldog mix. The other was partly shepherd, but with a friendly-tipped left ear. They didn't come after her or us, but they made us think.

Good times!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Media Consumption Post

I had the opportunity to see the movie Captain Phillips Tuesday night. Slow starter, no mistake there, but the ending was some of the best acting I've seen in recent memory. Seriously, it's a movie worth seeing. I know Tom Hanks won't win an Academy Award for it because the competition is so tough this year, know? I think I'll pick him on my Oscar ballot anyway.

Moving on...

I'm listening to Lord of the Rings on audio in my car, courtesy of Amazon and Audible. I read the books possibly twenty times in high school and college and when I die, I hope my afterlife is reliving the years of the ring war...forever. Not that I believe in an afterlife, but for me, nice thought.

Anyway, the reason I started the listen was because it's been a few years and I missed the characters and also because I feel a relentless tug urging me to have an adventure (or something like one). I have to say, this helps...a lot.

After being away so long, I find myself noticing things that I never noticed before.

Like how weird the distances are. I sort of wonder if coming from a smallish island warped Tolkien's sense of proportion and distance a bit. Everything is...closer together than in more modern knock-offs of the genre he created.

Also, my dislike of Aragorn has faded a bit since my younger days and my deep-sucking-chest-wound for Boromir and his fate are not as keen. one is thirteen forever, right? Still, in my fantasy afterlife, I think I would expend considerable energy trying to save his unworthy ass.

I find myself gravitating more toward Gimli the dwarf than the human characters.

I myself am now and shall always be a hobbit.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Georgia Climate - Rainy Winters

This is what Line Creek looked like on Sunday after some really serious rainfall on Saturday. Yes, those are tiny white caps in the flow, which covered 100% of the shoal areas of the nature area. The creek overflowed the banks in many places, washed out the trail in a couple more, and generally made a lot of noise as it rushed toward Lake Mac.

The dog enjoyed drinking from it, despite the turbidity - note the color. The creek is pretty clean in this area with nothing being dumped into it until you get more than ten miles upstream to Fulton County.

The high for the day was a pleasant 67-degrees, a welcome change from the cold weather from last week, that closed schools in spite of the lack of snow.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Quick Letter

Dear nineteen-year-old church elder,

Your creepy unblinking-ness did not bother me. It takes all kinds. Your wing-man, yeah, you got me. He's creep-tastic, standing right there behind you, watching, vacantly smiling. Your matching clothes...I'm used to that.

Oh, but your haughty-ass smugness...mmmph, that's where we run into some trouble, son, sonny boy, little mister sunshine.

No, I have not in fact read the book of Moron. I only read quality science-fiction from modern-era authors. And that tone? Really? You-should-read-it, in that tone??

Child, I'm not old enough to be your mother unless she was a fourteen-year-old girl...

Oh. Snap.

You're a mormon. I bet she was actually.

But either way...respect, you little drone. Respect. I did you a solid not questioning your ID when I issued you a guest pass for the match-set of computers you and your wing-man used together, creepily side-by-side. I know...I know...that ID was probably expired.

So next time you ask, I'm remembering that head-toss that accompanied your unblinking, creep-o you-should-read-it, and I'm checking the expiration date...because, yeah, sorry, we need a valid ID here.

Hint: if you MUST proselytize, especially to people who are forced to serve you or starve, try not to be SUCH horrible twat about it, okay? It goes over better.

No love,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Gracie

This really squidgy pic is of Gracie with her new toy.
My puppy turned two years old today, according to her AKC papers. Technically, she's an adult dog, but she's still so funny and puppy-ish. When I got her, she was a bit larger than a football and cried all the time. Now, she's the size of a small wolf and only cries in the car.

For her birthday, Gracie got the following:

  • A stuffed doggy from Goodwill (pictured)
  • Salmon flavored treats
  • A long visit to the dog park
  • The middle spot on the couch
I think she did okay, all things considered. Partner also gave her extra food at dinner time, which she does not really need because of her alarming weight gain, but I'm not saying anything. I just don't have it in me right now. She has some cantaloupe in the fridge that we forgot about. I think it will keep until tomorrow or so.

As I've said, Gracie is my first dog. Every milestone is completely new to me and I love them. She is the best dog.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pudgy Puppy

I think most people have seen pictures of Gracie and realize she's slightly chunky for a two-year-old purebred German Shepherd Dog.

Her second birthday is Friday, btw.

I want to go on the record about this.

When I was her primary caregiver, she ate measured kibble in a bowl with clean water on the side. She got a dental bone one per week for her teeth, weight appropriate size. She received training treats during training. Once or twice per week she got a little cheese, meat, or a couple almonds to taste.

Now that partner feeds her, she gets...

  • Kibble
  • Cooked chicken
  • Cooked liver
  • Cooked pork shoulder
  • Leftover meat
  • Crab
  • Cheese
  • Salami
  • Doggy ice cream
  • At least five raw hide sticks
  • Dog treats
  • Butcher's bone

Yes, she can get all of that in a single day, except usually it's only two of the cooked meats, not all three.

This is why she's getting too fat. Plus, I'm having trouble taking her walking as much as I did because of the weather/season. She's over fed, over loved, sedentary dog!

Part of me wants to be in charge of her feeding again, but partner would not be amenable to kibble-only for our precious dog-daughter.

Our fat dog-daughter.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Indoor weather

Today, it is extremely cold outside here in Georgia. I should be able to put on a nice sweater or long-sleeve shirt and vest. I should be able to wear woolly socks and boots.

Alas...I work with women.

So while the outdoors may require one form of dress (warm...hello) the interior of the building with be so freaking hot that I'll need short sleeves, light-weight pants, and ankle socks just to do my job without being uncomfortable and potentially dehydrated.

Then, when I step out of the building to get to my car, I'll bundle up in a jacket and still freeze.

Nice. Thanks for that, ladies. Thanks a lot.