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Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

I am trying to write a real post, but life – the life in which I must get all my shit together before going under the knife on friday morning, keeps internening.

But I also been knitting and am now working on a lovely shawl using lovely urguay stuff with lots of pretty colours. It pushes aside the angora thing and the warm mitts I must have and even knit one pair and found a tiny flaw that bother me enough start ripping, but my MIL went insane over that and took them from me. The next pair were intented for her anyway.

As I prepare to leave my disorganized house once again for a hospital stay, I need a public declaration: the yarn insn’t a sign of a hoarding complex. Apparently, will I was Napping, well-intentioned people came into my house and saw that I’d forgotten three visits in row to Costco that we already had SOS pads, so now we have MANY in the storage room. And then they looked in a few other closets and found much, much, much yarn, several half on their way to … something. They decided I suffer from an actual clinic illness called hoarding, which normally brings to mind old ladies with 58 years of the newspaper stacked in the kitchen. But hey, different definitions, I guess.

If you can’t or won’t believe me, go ask the Yarn Harlot, who has written extensively on the phenomenon and actually is published. It’s a knitter thing, not an OCD things.

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Jasper recently graduated from Intermediate dog training and they like to make a big fuss of it, kind of like kids graduating from kindergarten. They hand out graduation hats and line us up for photographs. Fortunately, Maya came with me and could help with photos, because who can resist this silliness? (Well, Jasper, for one, definately resisted.)

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Success!

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It was one of those perfect winter days today, where the snow fell in big, slow flakes and made everything look beautiful. There was no wind and it was mild. I took Jasper for a long walk, then got the kids and when we got home, Asher and Boo played outside for a long time with the dog. It was idyllic and fun and helped me breath properly again. Here are pictures. Lots of pictures.

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He loves to smush his whole face in the snow.

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I don’t want to go on about it, but the reason it was so nice to watch everyone romp around was that my cat, Theo, died yesterday at the age of four, very suddenly. He developed crystals in his urine, his bladder got blocked and his kidneys were damaged beyond help by the time I got him to the vet. He died in my arms shortly thereafter.

He was a marvelous cat. He was utterly-unfeline-like in his friendliness and love of everything. He purred at his vet appointments. At one, he had to take a medication that had the side effect of calming them down and when the vet walked in, he was lounging on her counter, purring happily. She said, “Wow, that stuff really mellows them out sometimes.” I told her, “He hasn’t taken it yet. This is just his personality.” Even my mother liked him, and my mother hates cats.

I miss him so much.

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and kitty badness.

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Doesn’t she look sweet? She is, mostly. She loves to cuddle up and smush her face into my hair. She likes to crawl under the blanket with me and snuggle under there on my chest.

She also loves to chew on string, cords, anything long and skinny. She’s chewed cords off blinds, neatly snipped apart my yarn as I’m knitting more times then I can count, and no necklace cord is safe. But she reached new heights of destruction today by efficiently scissoring right through the earbud cord for Maya’s new iPod. She didn’t even show the kindness of just hacking off one earbud so we could at least listen in one ear until we get new earphones.. Nope, she severed it right at the jack. Little shit.

I’d just discovered the world of podcasts, too, and had been working my way though the Savage Love archive, amusing myself listening to Dan call people up and talk them into dumping their boyfriends or coming out of the closet that minute.

On the other hand, Snowpuppy is being just delicious. He has lost none of his love of the snow and still likes to bury his whole face into it, then burst out and run madly around. I haven’t got any really good pictures yet, but I did take this one after he’d hung out for a while outside during the last snowstorm:

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He’s so freaking cute to watch that I have taken to letting him off leash more often as we walk around the block, because I like to see him bounce around on people’s lawns. He’s getting very good at staying on the last few feet of them, and while he does pop out onto the road occasionally, he does obey, “Side” and come back when I order.

I have to say, this whole dog-training thing paid off in a big way last night, beyond ensuring he doesn’t eat my dinner when I get up and the unbearable cuteness of seeing him poke a ball with his nose when I tell him to “touch ball.” When he lingers at some interesting smell too long, I just walk ahead because he can’t bear to let me get too far away from me and will come galloping after me in no time. Last night, though, in his snowy joy he galloped right past me just as we were reaching a turn in the road. Coming from the other direction was a car, also turning. In the dark, there was no way the driver could see Jasper racing down the road and in his exuberance, Jasper hadn’t noticed the car, either.

I saw in a flash that car and dog were on a collision course and instinctively yelled out, “Jasper, WAIT!” as he hit the edge of the road ahead of me (I have trained him to wait at the edge of the road, or anywhere ahead of me when I tell him to until I release him). I was hugely gratified and relieved when he skidded to the quickest stop I’ve ever seen, and then even came trotting back to ask what was up.

Disaster averted! Thanks to all that training work. Of course, someone sane might argue that it also would have been averted had I not been so stupid as to let him run around in the dark off-leash, but we won’t go there now, okay?

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I found my camera, but still don’t have any pictures of snow-puppy. I do have pictures from Boo’s birthday party, now a couple months old. But here are a couple anyway:

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She wanted a gymnastics party, because as far as she is concerned, if you can’t climb it, jump on it or jump off it, it is no fun. For those people who are deluded into thinking that at least girls are calmer than boys and don’t treat the house like a jungle gym, I invite you over to my house to witness Boo do things like leap from the top of the bunk bed like a spider monkey to the floor. Or worse, to the rocking chair.

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Here are several of the kids waiting for their turns. The tall boy in the white shirt is Boo’s boyfriend. Isn’t he cute? Well, actually, turns out he’s one of her boyfriends. The little guy behind him is the other one. Too bad you can’t see him better, because he’s cute too.

We discovered this the other day when Boo announced, “I have a boyfriend and D has a girlfriend!” Odd way to put it, but we’ll play along. “Who are they?” Maya asked. “Well, I’m D’s girlfriend and C is my boyfriend.” We pointed out that it sounded like she has two boyfriends and she was just delighted with that notion. I’m going to have to watch that one closely.

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Someone just found my site by googling “what judaism means to me.” I find this odd. It doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing the internet is going to tell you. Speaking of, we took the whole family to synagogue this Saturday and plan to continue. We fell out of the habit at our old shul because there was nothing to keep the kids engaged, making the whole experience increasingly unpleasant. We are back on the wagon, though.

Asher threw a huge fit because services bore him silly. In truth, I sympathize completely. Just sitting and not being allowed to doodle, or knit or read something else at the same time is difficult for me as well. He solved his problem by refusing to enter the sanctuary, wandering around the rest of the building until he found a friend. I solved the problem by reading the Torah (and commentary) in great detail. It was actually quite nice. I think we all enjoyed the experience more than we expected to, which is good, because we are determined to make this a regular activity.

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Jasper has started intermediate training at Petsmart, where he did the beginner class. Same instructor too. She is great. He’s learning to stay longer, wait (which is different than stay), and heel. Heel is the one I just couldn’t quite figure out on my own. I did have a go at it now and then, and something must have sunk in, because he got it the moment I tried and while other dogs are making it 4 or 5 steps down the aisle before bolting, Jasper makes it up one aisle and down the other. Of course, it helps that he is brilliant.

Our latest move is teaching the dog to ‘touch.’ “Touch ball” is this week’s command. Every time Jasper pokes the ball with his nose or paws at it, he gets a treat. At first, he found me waving the ball in his face very annoying and tried to bite it. But he soon clued to. The instructor has great plans for ‘touch,’ like teaching the dog to turn off lights or pick up their own toys and put them away (I asked if I could bring my kids to the next class, so she could teach them that trick too).

This class is smaller than the beginner, not surprisingly. There are only 4 other dogs. One is a tiny little poodle, which I find odd. Most dogs in training classes are large, I guess because most people aren’t concerned about being able to control something that weighs only 7 lbs.

Last class, we went out into the store to work on something – the instructor likes the distractions – and as we exited the training room we passed a girl about 20 years old. When she spotted Jasper, she yelled, “Wow!” Then she followed us. She watched the training session, commenting repeatedly on how beautiful my dog was and how much she loved him. As we headed back to the room, she told me in a voice of complete sincerity, “I just love your dog so much that if I could, I’d steal him.”

I was glad to be going into the training room and away from the crazy dog stalker, but she followed us in! She sat beside Jasper and kept trying to pat him, but he was having none of it. I don’t know if he independently decided she was nuts, or if he was picking up vibes from me. When the class ended, I confess bolted ahead of the others, leaving the stalker trapped behind the other dogs going out the door, and then quickly left the store, double-checking that no one had followed me from the parking lot when I left.

There’s the down side to having the most marvelous dog in the world.

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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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Maya is coming home today. She sent us 6 letters from camp, all going on about the lovely time she had, and giving some nice detail about her friends, the food, the canoe trip she went on. But my favourite letter is the one where she describes her older cousin’s new mohawk and how he now looks like a complete idiot and she has decided he is no longer related to her. What I like about this letter is that I then went online to see if they’d put any new pictures up, and they had. The timing of the letter and the event pictured meant I’d get to see pictures of my nephew’s new do. And sure enough, there was my nephew … looking just the same as before! She scammed us! And did a darn good job too, because we were completely sucked in.

Jasper is waiting in the car for his walk at the off-leash park (he goes out when J takes the kids to camp and insists on getting in my car to wait – afraid I’ll forget him, I guess. So now I will just give you some of the gratuitous photos I spent yesterday uploading.

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Last year at this time, we brought home a stray cat who had been hanging around our cottage all summer. We’d named her Shahora (Hebrew, basically meaning Blackie). She was a lovely, friendly girl, but knocked up and we figured that some irresponsible owner had dumped her in the country upon figuring out her condition. I refused to leave her there when we left at the end of the summer, so we ended up with a hugely pregnant cat in our basement (keeping her separate from the other cats who live here).

Shahora had five kittens. We found homes for all of them quite quickly, including mama cat. And we still get to visit three, as my brother took two and a close friend took one.

We – meaning the kids and I – loved watching the kittens grow, and I can’t believe it has already been a year. I was looking through some photos of their kittenhood (I have only about 70 thousand) and figured I might as well toss a few up here.

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This is Harry, named after Harry Potter because of the lightening bolt. Harry was then Harriet for a while, but is now back to Harry. He hurt his leg somehow and couldn’t walk. He used to lie like this and swipe at whatever sibling came by, still managing to get into battles without being able to walk. Because of the injury, he wasn’t getting his fair share of nursing, and I had to supplemental feed him until he healed.

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At back is a fully black guy (like his mom) we named Sam. Harry and Stormy are sparring in the front.

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Stormy is trying to convince mama to let him nurse. He was the biggest mama’s boy.

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He convinced her, and the rest followed suit.

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Stormy, snoozing.

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Lucy, the only girl, finds a comfortable (?!) place to rest.

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Sammy, all tucked in by Boo.

The only one missing is Cookie, who was actually my favourite.

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