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Archive for the ‘doodles’ Category

In this episode: kid health, dog obedience and fat loss –

Maya is pretty much healed now, and stuffing everything not nailed down into her face to make up for those few days she could not eat properly. We now have an appointment at an orthodontist for the next step: braces. Ugh.

Asher doesn’t have an appointment with the tummy guy until March, but I’m rattling cages and trying to get it earlier. Meanwhile, he continues to eat normally and I continue to wince inwardly and resist the urge to web surf for answers I can only actually get from the doctor.

My mission to stop Jasper from becoming an annoying and humpy dog at the park is actually coming along very well. He still tries it when he first encounters one of his favourite dogs, but pretty much all I have to do is yell: “I’m watching you, so don’t even try it!” and he stops. If he starts in again, I leash him and that really calms him down.

Yesterday, I walked with another woman who has a doodle the same age, and the two of them acted like very badly behaved teenage boys. Every time they encountered a dog smaller or younger than them, they’d charge the poor thing. The other dog would sit on it and Jasper would yank ears and tails. Usually calling them off would do it, but once they ran ahead to a young Golden and were really knocking the poor thing around in their exuberance, and would not listen to orders to leave him. So I managed to get in front of Jasper and yelled, “Jasper, STOP!” at which he came to a screaming halt and lowered his head in that ashamed doggy way.

I find that lately he’s taken another cognitive leap with me and understands a great deal of what I want from him. For example, when we walk around the neighbourhood, I don’t leash him and there is one spot where we walk on the sidewalk on a busy road to cross at a certain spot for the park. He normally walks right behind me then, but a couple of times he’s jumped the gun and start to cross early. The first time, I was so surprised I said, “Hey! Get back here!” and to my amazement, he did. He does not understand the words “hey get back here” but he understood my intent. And while he will roam into the road on the side streets, when he sees a car coming, he now goes straight to the side and stays still until it passes (because I make him wait whenever a car goes past.)

See – the smartest dog ever.

As for Weight Watchers, so far so good. I lost 4.5 lbs the first week and I know I’m down a bit more so far this week. Thanks to all the dog walking, I get enough points that I don’t feel particularly deprived (so far). But I am aware that I am still in the weight loss honeymoon period and the difficult stuff is yet to come.

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It was hot and sunny for the past two days. I was in absolute heaven. I thought after it got cold after our return from New York that we were done with the really good weather, but I was really wrong.

Yesterday, the kids and I took the dog on a long walk along the river at a spot we don’t normally frequent, because we popped in to visit friends with their new baby (She came home from China a couple of months ago and is doing amazingly, as well as being freaking cute. My three kids surrounded her on the floor and all tried to engage and play with her at the same time. Her mom and I were concerned that they would overwhelm her, but when she started throwing her arms in the air and cheering, “Ay!” we figured she was okay.)

Anyway, we came upon a great wooden play structure and while the kids played and the dog ran around, I gathered leaves into an ever-growing pile. There were a lot of leaves. It was several feet high when Asher spotted it and took a flying leap into it. Whenever I see people jump into leaves in the cartoons, I always think it’d still hurt, as leaves aren’t a great cushion. But when you pile them 3 feet high they are!

They spent a long time repiling and leaping in the leaves. Even the dog got into the act at one point. I let them bury me with leaves, and it was strangely peaceful under there (until I burst out growing and grabbing and children). Serious, serious fun.

Today, I took Jasper for a long walk in a huge, gorgeous protected park area, admiring the leaves and just reveling in the weather. I wasn’t the only one, and I’m toying with making up a card to hand out. It would say:

“He’s a Doodle, a Standard Poodle-Golden Retriever mix. No, he doesn’t shed at all, but some do. I have to brush him daily or he mats. Yes, I have to trim him, but I do it myself. It’s actually an unusual colour, most are blonder. No, they aren’t cheaper than getting a pure bred, since they are very popular. No, they don’t all get this big, but they are still generally pretty big dogs. 55 lbs. Yes, I know he seems like more as he is very tall and skinny. He’ll likely fill out in the next year. One year old. Yes, he is very calm for a one-year-old. No that isn’t typical. Thank you – we think he is great too.”

Because I have that conversation over and over and over. I’m glad people love him, but it does get a bit tired at times.

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And they make great family dogs, too!

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Okay, what’s with the obsession with luck lately? For the past couple of weeks, the post that is getting the most hits is an old one about four-leaf clovers. Lots of people are searching for luck on google, which I find just weird.

The other search string I get a lot is a variation on Dalton McGuinty’s hypocrisy. Seems there are a fair number of people out there who think he’s a hypocrite. And a fair number who just plain hate the guy. Also, a good number of people have popped on asking what school his kids go to. I like to think they aren’t stalking him, rather, they are just confirming that in fact his kids do go to Catholic school – the source of his hypocrisy.

But despite the people finding their way to me, polls show that the majority of Ontarians are still against funding other religious school. In the paper today, someone said right out in a letter that it will allow Muslims to more easily set up terrorist training camps. McGuinty must be delighted.

I’m doing my little TV show tomorrow on the topic, with a Jew, a Christian and a nice Muslim woman terrorist on to discuss it. God, people are stupid – not the nice Jew, Christian and Muslim I’ll be talking to, of course, but the idiots who think Muslims are all terrorists.

I’m in an extra bad mood because it is 1:40 am and I am conscious. I have insomnia.

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Today, Asher was in a bad mood after school, crying over not being able to find a snack he wanted. I asked him if anything bad happened in school today and he said, “Nothing unusual, just the same old shit. They make me work there and I don’t like work.” He said it so casually. At this point, I’ve pretty much given up on trying to stop the bad language completely and am just trying to compartmentalize it, I must confess. Just don’t swear around the grandparents and teachers, please.

I am an awful mother.

I don’t remember any kids his age swearing when I was young. None. According to him, all his friends swear this way. Not Maya’s though, and she’s older. I wonder if it is a boy thing.

Oh, this reminds me of a funny, though. In the summer, a good friend rented the cottage next to ours for a couple of weeks with a friend. We’d pop over regularly. Her friend really loves Jasper and once when Asher showed up there alone, my friend asked Asher, “Where’s your dad?” Asher answered, “With Jasper.” Her friend then asked, “Well, where’s Jasper?” Asher replied, “Taking a shit on your lawn.” They were appalled, but I thought it was hysterical when they told me. That’s the problem, of course. I am not appropriate shocked, and my kids see right through me when I try to be.

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Okay, one last thing. I promised to say why Jasper avoided a buzz cut. I’m sure no one really cares that I haven’t followed up on it, but it’ll eat away at my soul until I honour my promise.

That’s all bullshit, of course. I just want to share with the world, or at least the doodle owners who surf onto here, the amazing discovery I made. A couple of months ago, Jasper started to mat like crazy, which apparently doodles do when their adult coats come in. Everyone goes on about how great it is to have a non-shedding dog, but no one mentions that it means you get a clumpy mess if you don’t really take care of it. I don’t mind, though. I love to brush him and hack off the hair growing over his eyes and such.

But I brushed and brushed, and still he matted. I cut the mats out, but he finally reached the stage where his hair wasn’t successfully covering the bald spots and the only answer I could come up with was shaving him down. As he has white skin and red fur, this was not going to be pretty.

The problem was, what to do when his hair grew out? Would he just start to mat again? I put the question to an on-line doodle group and one guy pointed me to a line of brushes with the stupid name of Les Pooches. These things aren’t in regular stores, requiring one to order the $85 brush from New York and then pay shipping and duty, without even testing driving the thing. Ouch.

However, a little more poking around as I looked for reviews allowed me to make the discovery that there is one store in all of Canada that sells these brushes and it is, unbelievably, about 20 minutes drive from here. I drove straight over. The nice store lady demonstrated the brush, miraculously brushing out several mats right there. And, to top it off, she was charging $10 less. I never have luck like that.

I bought it (expensive, yes, but less than the price of a single grooming session) and chased poor Jasper around for days, brushing out all the mats. And now my boy has long, soft, tangle-free hair. He was lying in the school yard today with about 6 children surrounding him with their hands buried in his hair, saying, “He’s so soft.” He’s still my pretty boy.

Gratuitous cut kid shot. They all look so happy. They all were so happy:

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I’m really bloody tired.

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Jasper is still doing the thing where he refuses to walk with anyone. Yesterday, he wouldn’t come with me, so I dropped the leash and walked away again. After we got the mail, he spotted a sprinkler on someone’s lawn and found that riveting, so he dragged me over to check it out. I refused to walk into the sprinkler, so he lay down on the lawn and stared at it, ignoring me. Again, I had to walk away. We must have looked ridiculous, with me marching down the street, refusing to look back, and him sitting on the lawn staring after me. Finally, he got up and ran after me, trailing his leash behind him. Goofy.

We had a similar walk last night, with him following me around the block, trailing his leash. I was glad it was too dark for anyone to see us.

At least he’s gotten better with the car. He’s finally figured out that if he goes in the car, he gets to stay with me, instead of returning to the house. So now, if he sees me getting my keys before a walk, he bolts for the car and stands by the power door, indicating his intention to go with us.

Okay, on to what people really want – pictures. First a few pictures of the old, shaggy Jasper.

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Jasper cannot figure out why Maya would be so bold as to lie on his couch and not share her lunch.

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Here he is, demonstrating his understanding of the importance of good oral hygiene. His toothbrushes don’t last long, though.

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Here he is being outrageously cute.

And now, the cut:

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I didn’t actually get very good pictures. Jasper was clearly fed up of the paparazzi today.

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I didn’t let them cut his tail.

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It wasn’t as humid yesterday, and is even better today, and I could even breath properly most of the time, but it is still a little too hot for my liking. Lots of sweating.

Poor Jasper is suffering way worse than me, though, with that big fur coat. I got ready to pick up the kids from school the other day and prepared to bring him along as I always do when they are all at school (Boo is only their full days for two days). He was all excited and waited at the door wagging his tail. I put the leash on him, opened the door, went out and waited for him to follow and he stopped dead at the doorway. I’m so glad I made the appointment last week to get him buzzed, even if he will look like a doggy dork. He’ll be more comfortable. (Yes, of course I’ll post pictures.)

So soon, no more hot dog. He’s at the groomers right now.

He was not impressed that I was leaving him there, even though there were two nice people patting him and telling him how lovely he is, and started to cry as I left. I swear, I felt almost as badly as I did when I first left my kids at daycare.

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Way back in the beginning of this blog, in the bloggy stone age, I wrote about chronic pain and painkillers. I explained why I took them and how the addiction scenario portrayed in the TV show House is unrealistic. I was all pro-drugs. Now I’ve decided I have to quit taking them. And it is going to suck.

My biggest problem is that my body gets used to the amount of meds I’m taking pretty quickly (and it seems to be speeding up as time passes), which means I have to take more and more for any effect. That is annoying – I imagine myself having to swallow 20 pills per dose someday, which is stupid.

Also stupid is that as my body becomes more used to the drugs, the more I experience withdrawal symptoms if I don’t take the pills. Withdrawal doesn’t automatically equal addiction, by the way. Plenty of drugs produce dependence, like all anti-depressants, and the fact that your body gets used to them and then feels badly when they are removed is very common. That’s all well and good, but what it comes down to is the same thing – I have to take the pills or I start feeling like crap, crap that has nothing to do with the FMS. I don’t like being tied down that way and that, plus the lessening efficacy, means it is time to toss them.

Easier said than done, unfortunately. It’s going to hurt. You know all those bad 70’s cop shows when the junkie is picked up all sweaty and shaking and promised to spill everything he knows for a fix, because he’s ‘hurting bad’? It’s pretty accurate. It does hurt and sweating and chills can be involved, if you go cold turkey. I do not plan to go cold turkey, but it is still going to hurt.

Fortunately, J is very supportive, because I am about to become even less useful than I already am, and that’s pretty darn useless.

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I took poor hot Jasper out for a walk this morning. He thought that was a good idea, until we hit the wall of humidity outside. (Our air conditioner is not working, but it is still a lot cooler inside than out.) We made it to the bottom of the driveway and he stopped. I convinced him to move forward about four more steps, then he sat down. I waited. Then he lay down on the street and put his head on his paws, making it clear that he didn’t care what I thought, he wasn’t moving.

I dropped the leash and headed off down the road. I needed to get the mail and I was going with or without him. It was my bet that he’d panic, just like a small child, when I made it a certain distance away from him and clearly wasn’t returning, but he might have just called my bluff and just gone back to the house to wait for me. I took the chance. Sure enough, about 4 houses away I heard the pitter patter of big feet coming up behind me.

The nice thing about pulling this move on a dog is that he didn’t throw a tantrum afterwards and yell, “You left me!”

Despite how much I love his fluffy stuffed-animal look, I’ve made an appointment for Thursday to get him shorn. He’s just too hot, poor bugger, wearing that big fur coat.

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It is hot and humid here, so the girls and I decided to set up the pool in our back yard. Jasper thought that was a fine, fine idea.

First he went for a little swim. He hopped in the pool:

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He lay down in the pool. He put his head on his paws underwater and we watched bubbles emerge from his nose. Then he popped up and repeated the process. I had no idea dogs could hold their breath:

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Trolling for fish?:

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Coming up for air:

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Having had enough, Jasper exits:

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Thank goodness he has such an efficient method of drying himself, so I don’t need to worry about that now:

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After a nice refreshing swim, what dog wouldn’t race madly around the yard in sheer glee and then decide to help out with the gardening:

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Checking to see if he’s reached China yet. Or is it Australia?:

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Maybe it’ll work better over here?

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All that work wears a puppy out, you know:

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What? What? Is there something on my face?

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