Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Super Groovy Puppy Love

I am waiting for the timer on my watch to go off, indicating that 15 minutes have gone by in-between dosings. I am administering an herbal, holistic remedy to my dog.

Buster's health has not been completely back to normal since his rear leg started giving him trouble this winter. We were alerted to his injury -- or condition, we don't know -- when he started yelping when we scratched his back leg. Later the same night it first happened, he started yelping in his sleep, startled awake by the pain in his leg when he'd enact a particularly vivid dream.

I flew out of bed three times that night, panicked and hysterical with heartbreak.

The vet we took him to moved his leg around for a bit, prescribed a week's worth of Rimadyl, and said that it was just a pulled muscle. That just never sat right with me, and I kind of thought the vet was weird. Plus, I'd read that Rimadyl can sometimes melt the liver of the poor puppies it is supposed to be helping. This is my baby we are talking about, so I doubt I'll ever completely trust anyone to treat him properly. (I'm an asshole, I know.)

Seemingly without cause, every couple of months or so, Buster will let out a yelp again. Not good.

Lately, for the past three weeks or so, he's been having bladder control problems. Buster is neurotic as shit and we've had to work to get him to quit urinating out of submission. He hasn't done that in over a year. Oh, the freedom.

The last couple of accidents have been different, though. Suddenly, he'll be up from a leisurely lay-about pacing nervously, and before I can get the thought "Oh, shit. Buster has to go outside." through my thick head, he's started to pee on his way to the back door. Then he is all heartbroken that he has done something wrong. Dear heavens, that breaks my heart. And it annoys me that I've cleaned the carpets three times in the last month. (Carpet grosses me out SO MUCH.)

So, for the past week I've been worried the poor little guy has a bladder infection. Poor Buster!

Anyway, a number of people, including Black Sheeped, have recommended a holistic, homeopathic vet, Dr. MotherEarth. I finally called her this week as I am convinced that something is just wrong with Buster. He's only seven years old; he shouldn't be having control problems, or trouble jumping up on the bed in the morning to cuddle.

After chatting with Dr. MotherEarth, she thinks that Buster's trouble may be stemming from a pinched nerve in his back, and not a bladder infection as I had feared. So, until she can see him on September 14, she thinks this herbal brew will help ease his inflammation and pain. Then, during his appointment she is going to give him a chiropractic exam and see if acupuncture is necessary.

People - I am considering giving my dog acupuncture treatments.

My dog. Acupuncture. Mutt. Crazy Eastern Shit with Needles.

In regards to my own health, I heavily consider holistic care whenever possible. But I don't know if I really buy into acupuncture. For me or my dog.


Thoughts? Other than that I am attached to my dogs to the point of the absurd, of course.

Monday, August 27, 2007

175 x 13 = 2,275

My death is being sponsored by Adobe CS2.

Work has been hell, lately. A specific kind of hell that demands 14 hour work days. I basically handle the graphic design and publications management for the nutrition program I work for. The program is disseminated by a large state university. A large, overwhelmingly bureaucratic state university.
And hence, the hellaciousness of my job lately.

I am in the middle of several large, tedious projects that are pretty important to our program. The largest and--by far--the project that has totally kicked my ass is the cookbook. One week prior to sending this PAIN IN THE ASS to the printer -- via the Visual Communications department of the university -- my VC coordinator sent me this little morsel:

"I kinda don't work for the university anymore. Work directly with AB [printer rep] on the cookbook."

Um, what?

Now, I like working with printers. No, I love it. At the risk of sounding really snotty, I'd dare say I am really good at working with printers and coordinating production of printed materials. I love that work. But. The university is very paranoid that one of the dozens of designers employed at this gleaming institution of higher education will slap some porn on the university lettertype. Apparently, that wouldn't be very funny.

So, the manager of the VC office caught wind that I was happily and efficiently prancing right over her head and working directly with a printer. The sin! She put the kibosh on those goings-on immediately. So, all of my production materials have had to come and go through her. And she sits on my proofs for days at a time.

OHMYGOODGRIEF. She sits on my proofs for days at a time. (Anyone out there in print or publishing? You know that one day of sitting on a print is like three days of work, right?!?)

*throws up into nearby trash can*

Anyway, long, annoying, irritating, infuriating, vomit-inducing and mind-numblingly stupid story short, being required to still send all my production materials through the manager of the VC office has slowed down all of my projects to the point that NOT A SINGLE ONE WILL BE PRINTED BY MY DEADLINES. (To be fair, the manager is disgustingly overwhelmed with projects thanks to the notice my previous coordinator utterly failed to give when he left. She knows deadlines are being missed and yes, I do understand she is human. But I thrive on deadlines and this just might kill me.)

I don't have to tell you how awesome that is for a workaholic, lazy, perfectionist such as myself.

As an added bonus to the production-materials-black hole, it turns out the crackpot software that my program used to generate 175 nutrition fact labels cannot, in fact, generate nutrition label graphics at 300 dpi, no matter how many times you set and double-check your print output setting. Everything is a gloriously low resolution of 72 dpi.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! It is just rad that I managed to overcome my usual state of uncontrollable paranoia and one-tragic-event-away-from-full-blown-OCD tendencies, resisted the urge to double check that every single graphic produced was truly 300 dpi and I trusted the program to do what it said it was doing. RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD.

So, another
long, annoying, irritating, infuriating, vomit-inducing and mind-numblingly stupid story short, I spent one my recent Sundays recreating and fucking around with 175 images. Each image required no less than 13 steps to manipulate it into something remotely suitable for print.

175 multiplied by 13 is 2,275. That is a lot of
long, annoying, irritating, infuriating, vomit-inducing and mind-numblingly stupid steps.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Unsteady Ground

The world was suddenly heaving, raising up and then plummeting too far below my feet. It wouldn't stop. I could barely keep my balance. I couldn't keep my eyes trained on any one spot. My knees threatened to buckle every time my feet met the treacherously unstable ground. I fought to keep the panic from taking over: Would I die?

Hell had descended upon my world.

I did it. I completed Run One of Week One of the Couch to 5K running program that has been on my mind for nearly two months or so.

Ok. I sort of did it. Instead of alternating between running/walking for 20 minutes, I could only convince my pathetic (very, very jiggly) ass to continue this self-inflicted torture for ten. But. BUT! I then proceeded to walk nearly two miles afterward and I took the dogs for their evening 1-mile walk. (Yes, there is some kind of smugness that comes with sweating. Huh. Who knew? Certainly not me!)

So, I am not totally lazy. Just ridiculously wussy. And very surprised at just what condition my body is currently in. My back jiggled, people. Whoa.


Some Thank Yous, because Thank Yous are always nice to give and receive:

Thanks to JelBel, AGR, and DG for keeping in touch and reporting back on what kind of activity you've all built into your days. That has really meant a lot as I make some changes to develop a healthier lifestyle! You ladies ROCK. I miss you guys.

And thanks to Swistle, (and the ladies in Swistle's comments) Jess, Devan, and Jonniker for planting this painful idea in my head and inspiring me to get started. Keep up your own runs - you are doing great!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Super-smart Hotness

My first memory of A. was how freakin' sexy he was, sitting across the room in our Ecology of Knowledge graduate class in his black leather jacket, shaved head and glorious sideburns and goatee.


When we all had to introduce ourselves, he listed his three undergraduate degrees (Sociology, Philosophy, and Fisheries Biology--or whatever it is called) and I swooned. So smart. Such diverse interests. So many books the man must have read.


(Yes, yes, I know. I am a nerd. I won't apologize for it!)

Anyway, I remember when I noticed he'd missed class one week. Although he doesn't believe me, I definitely noticed him in class, and his absence, well, disappointed me. The corner of the room was so bland without his smoldering, super-smart hotness.


He'd missed class that week because he went out on his first moose hunt. His venture was successful; he made a dish with meat from the moose for our end-of-the-semester potluck for class. (That was yummy, too.) I made Mujadorrah, lentils with rice and caramelized onions. That sums up our different food preferences PERFECTLY.

He left tonight for another hunt he's been looking forward to for years (13 in fact)--his big horn sheep hunt. I miss his smoldering, super-smart hotness already.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

To Pace Oneself to Death


I think I may be slowly killing the cichlid. From stress. This is A.'s fish. I don't think he'll find it endearing if it dies under my care. It might cast a rather inept light around me, you know?

I cleaned the fish tank tonight. I dislike this even more than I dislike cleaning up the dogs' poop everyday. At least the dogs' poop remains stationary when I am trying to get to it. Well, on those delightful days of 50 mph winds it doesn't stay put, but enough about the joys of living on the moon.

Anyway, the cichlid always gets a bit antsy when I am in there messing with his shit. I thought the water aerator thingy (I don't know anything about this fish tank or the fish; I just hate when it looks gross.) looked like it was covered in slime and doing a pitiful job of aerating. And it must be important that it aerate, right? So, I swooshed it with the handled spongy scrapy thing and ta-da! Bubbles! Aerating bubbles! Big bubbles all over the fish tank! Woo hoo!

Um, it is making A LOT of LOUD bubbles now. I think I may have actually tore the special aerator material. Oops. Can water be over-aerated? Geezuz, I don't know anything about this shit.

Now the cichlid is swimming around constantly, just going back and forth. Demonstrating just how crappy it must be to be stuck in there. On display and all. He'll kind of swim near all the bubbles but seems like his is mostly trying to stay away from them. Usually he just sort of hangs out, all suspended and mellow. Now he is moving, moving, moving.

I am not necessarily fond of this fish but it is damn near breaking my heart to think that he may be dying a slow death due to anxiety. He's not tiny, but he is only about three or four onces or so. Constant moving could really wear him out, right? What a miserable, miserable end. To pace oneself to death.

Maybe I am just overly sensitive to the idea of an untimely and miserable death brought on by anxiety right now. Just what would it take to die from anxiety? Months? Years? Nine days?

A.'s sheep hunt starts in 10 days. He'll be out (with three other very capable fellas, thank God) for nine days in wilderness area, tracking and hunting his big horn sheep. Contact with the hunting party will not be possible. If something goes wrong, I won't have any indication until the ninth day. Even if that something wrong happens on, say, the second day. You see where I am going here.

Plus, A. has been looking forward to this once in a lifetime hunt since he was 16 years old. I want so badly for this hunt to be a rewarding experience for him. Rewarding in that all his planning results in a successful hunt. Rewarding in that he gets some much needed time free from the stress of work, finances and grad school and just gets to do what he enjoys for a while. Rewarding in that he gets to experience this with good, kind people. Rewarding in that yes, indeed, very good things are a part of his life.

I know how I handle this kind of stuff. Anxiety will be my constant companion, and I will be in a sleepless, silent battle to keep it from taking me over while he is gone. I will most likely be pacing, pacing, pacing, back and forth in our little house.

Much like the cichlid. Until I hear from A. on the ninth day.

Here's hoping that both my little aquatic roomie and I are stronger than I am currently giving us credit for.

Monday, August 6, 2007

O, Degrees

I am a perfectionist. But, I am also lazy. And a drama queen.

What an infuriating combination of personality traits.

Not only for me, but for everyone close to me. I am sure my co-workers think I am certifiable, what with the level of OBSESSING I've done over the 392-page cookbook that I FINALLY--FUCKING FINALLY--sent off to the printer today. Last week I spent a grand total of eight waking hours in my house. I lived at my office. I thought those days were a part of my DC past, not a part of my Western, laid-back present. Boo.

For the better part of the last couple of months, I have scanned and rescanned those 392 pages of budgetary-responsible cooking, hunting for the slightest imperfections. I have been thrown into melodramatic tizzies by the poor workmanship the previous "designer" so graciously left for me, and by my own piss-poor memory and disorganized ass. But what absolutely nearly drove me to drink by 9:32 a.m. daily were the thousand or so degree symbols. I've been scanning these pages for random, infuriating symbols that are really just superscript "o"s instead of proper glyphs. Good Golly that looked so, well, disheveled.

(I have a question that I think is perfect for Bibliodiva: is there a formal name for a degree symbol? For all my bitching about this I really shouldn't be ignorant of its proper nomenclature.)

Geezuz, I hope I don't find one of those little fuckers that I've missed until the damn book has been back from the printer for at least two months. At least. I think my skin will spontaneously peel right off my face and my left eye will pop out of my skull if I see one of those lurking, hideously fat degree markers in the next 60 days. Make that 90 days.

Whoa. I need some sleep. (Without dreaming of the index. I am not exaggerating; I've woken up every night for well over a week dreaming about the layout of the index.)

After I get some sleep, I am going to get me a life back, too.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Corner

Buster has had his face buried in the corner of the couch all night. (I'd love to share a photo, but A. has the camera. Still.)

I think he misses A.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dirty Mind

I am in finalizing a long, long, long, complicated document for work. The index alone is going to probably kill me.

[Let me preface this little tidbit by saying that I inherited this project from the previous "designer," or, rather, the secretary that thought she could design a cookbook. Please don't get me started.]

So. There is this picture on the intro page that all of my coworkers adore. ADORE. Positively gush.

I, on the other hand, have taken issue with it.

Does anyone else see an engorged, erect penis sticking out of that grocery bag?