dogs, emergencies, home

I went all Granny T last night…

Last night, I was sitting in the dark living room, working on the latest jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly, I heard Bill, and he sounded concerned.

“Arran, come here. You can’t have that nut!” he said.

Arran, who celebrated his ninth anniversary as our devoted family member yesterday, came running into the living room. He was clearly in distress. Bill was grabbing him around the stomach. It looked almost like Arran was choking on something, but I could tell he was breathing.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“He’s got a walnut in his mouth.” Bill said. Apparently, Arran had found an unshelled nut somewhere mysterious, broke it open with his teeth, and half of it was stuck on a molar. The other half, thank God, was in his bed. Walnuts are not really safe foods for dogs for a number of reasons.

“Oh my God!” I said.

Next thing I knew, my fingers were in Arran’s mouth, feeling around for the nut, which I thought was already halfway down his gullet. Vision of his sudden death flashed in my head as my fingers came out of his mouth, unsuccessful. I noticed splotches of blood on his right front paw, which he’d been using to frantically paw at his mouth, trying to get the walnut out.

I reached into his mouth again, determined to get the nut. I felt it stuck on his tooth. Somehow, I managed to grasp it and pull it out. It was all bloody, having cut the fragile gum tissue.

For a few minutes, all three of us were shellshocked by the sudden emergency. Bill had tears in his eyes as he comforted Arran, who was still scared and bewildered. I suddenly had a vision of my grandmother, Granny Tolley, who had a history of saving the day whenever one of her descendants got in trouble. I remember stories of Granny grabbing hatchets to kill snakes or break kids out of locked bathrooms. Granny died in July 2007, about six weeks shy of her 101st birthday. She was a tough lady.

After a few minutes, we were all a bit calmer, and Arran was back to sniffing the kitchen floor, hoping to find something edible that was dropped. He was perfectly fine within twenty minutes or so, but Bill and I were still a little bit shook up. Arran is about 13 years old, and it looks like he will be the dog who will have the longest tenure with us.

Our dog, Zane, died just a couple of months before what would have been his tenth “gotcha day” anniversary with us. But we got Zane when he was younger, and he had more health problems than Arran has ever had. Zane was a ray of sunshine, but he was fragile, suffering allergies and three years of mast cell tumors before finally succumbing to lymphoma.

I don’t think Arran was in any danger of dying last night, as the walnut wasn’t lodged in his windpipe or throat. But it was definitely a scary situation. I was kind of pleased with myself for jumping in and helping him out. As for how Arran got the walnut, I don’t know… I think he might have found it in the backyard. We lost a tree last weekend, and it’s still lying in the backyard, waiting for better weather and “processing”. I think the tree’s fall has unearthed some stuff.

As for Noyzi… he missed the entire drama. He usually hangs out in his bed upstairs in the evenings, except when we’re eating. Even then, he shows up fashionably late, sometimes even after we’ve already finished eating. He goes outside, does a few frenetic poop runs, tends to business, drinks a shitload of water, then puts himself to bed. Lately, Noyzi has had some pretty disgusting diarrhea, so that’s been fun… especially with the muddy backyard. I’ve been giving him pumpkin to help bind his poop.

As I write this, both dogs have come into the office, begging for attention and a walk. It’s cloudy outside and I’m a little depressed. I’m tempted to stay in my cocoon… but I guess it would do us all good to take a walk and get some air. Maybe it will motivate me to do my much hated Thursday chore of vacuuming, and pick up my guitar for some practice.

Last week, I was inspired to record my version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” It turned out nicely, although it doesn’t have many hits. On that video, I used a lot of pictures of my dogs, who keep me sane. I noticed the YouTube guy I’ve been doing collaborations with did a version of the same song a few hours ago. I guess he was inspired.

Sometimes I feel like my dogs are my only real friends. I’m sure glad Bill and I were able to dislodge that walnut before Arran got really hurt. I’d like to keep Arran around for as long as possible. He’s such a sweet, loving, gentle dog, and he shows us every day how much he loves us. We love him right back.

If I get inspired to write again, maybe I’ll be back… but I’m feeling a little depressed today. It might be a day for reading and napping.

ETA: I just vacuumed the house, and when I went downstairs to put the vacuum away, Arran had managed to pull a small bag of treats off the counter and was trying to suck them down. Fortunately, he wasn’t successful. I guess he’s fine. Good thing these dogs are so loving and cute.

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funny stories, home

Repost: Unexpected search results…

Hello folks. It’s a cold, drizzly Sunday here in Germany. Bill and I talked more about the Duggar situation over breakfast. There’s a lot more I could write about it… and maybe I will later. However, it does occur to me that some people are tired of reading and hearing about the Duggars, and frankly, I am a little tired of writing about them, too. So here’s a quirky repost from January 2019. I wrote it just before I felt forced to shut down my old blog.

Zane (RIP) and Arran enjoying the futon when it was new, and didn’t smell like ass.

Something interesting happened the other day.  I was sitting on our yucky futon and noticed that it has kind of a nasty smell.  I also noticed that it was so uncomfortable that it made my butt go numb.  Looking at the futon, I realized that it’s served its purpose and needs to be re-homed or trashed.   That gave me the idea to search for a new couch.

We bought the futon in August 2014, when we first moved back to Germany.  I didn’t actually want a futon, but we were moving into our old house and had no furniture for several days.  I didn’t want to sleep on air mattresses because I usually end up with Charley horses.  Also, the box we sent our air mattresses in was delayed by the post office and we didn’t want to buy new ones.  The futon was just big enough for Bill and me to sleep semi comfortably.  Add the two dogs, who insisted on joining us, and it was definitely not so good.  But then our regular furniture came and we were able to use the futon in our old TV/office as more of a “couch” for TV watching.  It wasn’t perfect, but it served a function.

I figured we’d be moving back to the States after Stuttgart and decided I’d throw it out when the time came to move.  But then we moved to Wiesbaden.  We brought the futon with us, and now I want to trash it again.  One of the spokes broke when I sat down on it too hard.  The dogs regularly sleep on it and one puked all over the mattress.  It was impossible to get it very clean, so now the mattress and pillows faintly smell kind of like ass… or maybe the musty, ripe cheese smell that comes from an infection.  It definitely doesn’t make me want to use the TV room.

I went on Amazon.de to look for “couches”.  I entered the search term into the box.  Amazon.de usually translates English terms into German.  Sure enough, I got most of the expected results.  I started seeing the sofas I hoped to see.  And then I noticed something very different.

About two-thirds of the way down the second page, there was a very realistic picture of a dildo.  It appeared to be a French product and had veins, wrinkly “skin”, and everything.  The seller promised free delivery and, at less than 27 euros, it was a bargain.

I was rather surprised by that result.  I mentioned it to a German friend.  She happened to have studied French and explained that in French, the word “les couches” refers to layers.  Since I used the term “couch”, I guess Amazon.de figured I was looking for layers.  And this sex toy has double layers of silicone, which I guess doubles your pleasure.

I never studied French, so this was news to me.  To tell you the truth, as dirty as my mind can be, I don’t actually like looking at those kinds of… uh… playthings.  Especially when they’re very realistic looking.  The one pictured did NOT look like a toy.  It was kind of moist looking and someone’s hands were wrapped around it.  I guess I can now see why some people ban Amazon from computers where small children might be lurking.

I was reminded of another incident from years ago.  I was stalking a messageboard for fundamentalist women who wanted to buy “modest clothing”.  One of the women who posted referred users to this Web site.  She also warned people to be careful when searching for “culottes”, since that might bring pornographic results.  Another referred readers to this site (I removed the link in 2021, because the site is now defunct), where you can order handmade culottes that set the “right” Biblical example. 

It’s funny that Americans think of culottes as a very modest piece of clothing, but in France, culottes are underwear.  Consequently, if you search for culottes, it’s possible that you will find underwear when you really want an ugly pair of short pants that look like a skirt. Come to think of it, I used to have to wear culottes as part of my uniform when I worked at Busch Gardens Europe. I hated them, because they were ugly and gave me wedgies, plus they had a button and zip in the back, which made going to the bathroom more of a challenge.

One time, I actually made a pair of culottes.  I wasn’t even forced to make them, either.  I thought they looked “cool”.  I was in eighth grade, taking home economics, and we had to use a pattern to make clothes.  For some reason, I liked the illustrated culottes that appeared on the Simplicity pattern.  I thought they were fashionable.  Dopey me, what did I know?  They didn’t even use a real photograph of a model on that pattern.

I selected really ugly teal fabric.  It was cheap, thin, and tacky.  I remember buying it at AAFES, back in the days when they sold fabric.  It was awful stuff because it wrinkled super easily.  I made the culottes, but they looked terrible, with sloppy, irregular seams and constant rumples.  I got a “C” on my project; although, believe it or not, I did wear the ugly culottes around the house for awhile.  I was thirteen, and didn’t have any sense.

The following year, I made a tank style jumpsuit with pastel polka dotted fabric.  That time, I chose better fabric that didn’t wrinkle and I did a better job making the garment.  I actually wore it to school a few times.  It got an “A”, although now I kind of cringe at the idea of wearing it.  What the hell… I was fourteen.  I hate sewing, though, and that was the last time I made any clothes.

I’m actually pretty crappy at anything involving clothes or fashion.  When I was in college, I was a member of a music fraternity and I really struggled at making my Greek letters with puff paint.  I’m too much of a slob to do it properly.  My mom and my maternal grandmother were great at needle crafts, sewing, fashion, and anything involving looking like a lady.  I didn’t inherit those genes.

Anyway… I am hoping soon we can replace the futon and get a nice couch so we can enjoy our TV room and I won’t be tempted to lie in bed to watch all of those iTunes TV shows that are preventing me from updating my Apple apps.  But no, at this point, I don’t need any sex toys that I found while searching for couches.  Why is it that French words often end up translating to sexy stuff, anyway?

First world problems are such bitches.

Almost three years after I wrote this post, I still don’t have a couch for our TV room. I still want to get one. I just need to find one we can get up the stairs by ourselves and will fit through the door. I just searched Amazon.de and got many results for couches… and none for dildos. I guess they finally fixed their algorithms for English speakers.

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Bill, home, housekeeping tips, music, YouTube

The power of teamwork and learning new skills…

Bill had to work late last night. Originally, he planned to go to work at noon and stay until 9:00pm, which would have been a reasonable work day. But it turned out that things kind of went to shit early in the morning, so he ended up heading to work at 7:30am. He stayed until 9:00pm.

I knew it was going to be a crazy week, and after nineteen years of marriage, I understand the nature of Bill’s work. Sometimes he has to work at odd times. Sometimes he has to work very long hours. I wasn’t even that annoyed yesterday that he had to go in earlier than planned. In fact, I kind of expected it. Bill is a very dedicated employee and he’s extremely empathic. He knew they needed him, so he jumped right in to get the job done.

Last night, I was sitting in our bedroom listening to Katie Joy’s Without A Crystal Ball stream about Josh Duggar’s trial. I don’t even think I was paying a lot of attention to what was being said. I’ve been trying really hard to finish a book, but every time I try to read, I get really drowsy and either fall asleep or have to take a nap. I want to get the book finished, because I’m really looking forward to reviewing it.

At around 8:00pm, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything and felt like having pizza. So I went down to the kitchen and started making dough. I made a full recipe, so there were two crusts. I put one in the freezer. We have a pizza stone that I haven’t personally used much, although I have made pizza lots of times. Nowadays, Bill does most of the cooking. So I watched a video on how to use a pizza peel.

This was a big help! And yes, I was successful.

I used to be a great cook. I was even paid to cook at one time in my life. I am out of practice, though. It’s great to have YouTube around for handy household tips like this. Nineteen years as an overeducated housewife, you’d think I would have learned sooner.

By 9:00pm, I had eaten two slices of the delicious small pizza I made. The crust was infused with raw garlic, and I had topped it with bacon, green peppers, pepperoni, and lots of cheese. I never said I was a healthy eater. I cleaned up the kitchen, noticing that the oven door was brown with disgusting caked on gunk. Ex landlady liked to used the word “encrusted”. Well, in the case of our oven, the term fit. So I Googled how to clean oven doors, since I had great success with my quest in finding out how to clean the glass fireplace doors a couple of weeks ago.

Sure enough, some lovely housewife blogger provided a simple hack for cleaning oven doors. That was my project this morning, scrubbing the hell out of the inside of the oven door. I got most of the gunk off.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Bill got home at 9:21pm. I had two slices of pizza for him on a plate that I wrapped and put in the refrigerator. I also brought up his beer from the Advent calendar. We both have different ones, since Master of Malt is no longer shipping to Germany or the United States. I used to get us really fun liquor filled calendars from them.

He had stopped at the grocery store and picked up some food to cook. He wasn’t expecting that I had already cooked. But now there’s food to cook tonight, because he’s working late again. Since he was so happy that I made pizza, I might get inspired again today. Maybe I’ll even get fancy and make something healthier!

Bill was definitely delighted that there was already something for him to eat, but for some reason, he thought of me anyway and brought this home…

And one other thing I did yesterday that involved teamwork was collaborating with another YouTuber. Some time ago, I stumbled across a guitar player named John. We have similar tastes in music. A few days ago, he ran across a recording I did of Joni Mitchell’s song, “Urge for Going”. He wrote to me and said he loved it, and wanted to know if I would be willing to sing it to his guitar playing so he could add some harmony. He says he’s obsessed with harmony. So he sent me a recording of his guitar part.

This was the video John found and liked. On this one, it’s just me and a background recording.

I made a recording with my vocals and John’s guitar yesterday. It wasn’t without difficulty. For some reason, when I try to record lately, the music sometimes skips, ruining the recording. It happens on SingSnap (a karaoke site) and on Garage Band. After many tries, I managed to get a clean rendition. I added a simple harmony line and sent it to John, who added more harmony and added it to his channel. He says he didn’t do much editing because he was busy with work. But it’s our first collaboration. Maybe we’ll do another at some point and things will get further refined.

Not too bad for a first attempt. I’m still working on learning guitar so I can accompany myself more.

Personally, I wouldn’t have put as much harmony on this. I would have confined it to the chorus, which you can hear that I did. But hell, it’s just for fun. I do enjoy listening to him play. We like a lot of the same artists. And I’m flattered that he wanted to collaborate with me in the first place.

I haven’t been doing much singing lately, mainly because of the issue I have with the music skipping. It’s very frustrating. But maybe today, I’ll spend some time finding a solution for that problem, now that I know it’s not confined to SingSnap, as I thought it was. I’ve also done the dishes and am working on the laundry. As soon as I close this post, I’ll practice guitar, and maybe eventually walk the dogs and wrap some Christmas presents… and maybe even finish that book, so I’ll have a new book review ready. I’ve got a bunch of other books waiting to be read.

It’s good to be busy, especially when Bill has to work late. Makes the time pass… And I’m so grateful to YouTube and fellow bloggers for teaching me handy housekeeping tips that my mom never taught me.

P.S. I get a kick out of Bill’s penchant for sending me military-esque emails. I asked him to bring home some more baking soda, vinegar, aluminum foil, and bar soap. His response was “Okay. Acknowledge all.” I’m surprised he didn’t write “Roger.”, which he’s also been known to do.

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home

I’m Hooooome…

And it’s time to start travel blogging, so unless there’s a really rantworthy topic I need to get off my chest, I may be light on posts for the next couple of days. The first load of laundry is washed and most everything has been put away.

I’ve been itching to do a proper travel blog series for months now, so here goes… By the way, my travel blog gets tons of spam comments. It’s so stupid, because no one sees them but me, and I delete them all immediately. Do people actually make money that way? Seems like a waste of time.

And yes, we did have a great time– and so far, we’re still healthy.

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Cologne accomplished…

We had a lot of fun in Cologne and I have plenty to write about in my travel blog. I’ll probably do that tomorrow, when I have more inclination to write. It’s almost 8:00pm now and we’re all tired. The dogs had a good time at their new pension, too. They were hanging out with a bunch of other beagles when we came to get them tonight.

So glad we took the time to see the Eagles! It was a fantastic show, probably one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to anywhere. I grew up on their music, but for a long time, people thought the band was totally finished. I’m glad to see the surviving members are still on their game. Deacon Frey, Glenn Frey’s super cute and talented son, is doing a superb job filling in for his father. Vince Gill was also fabulous! I look forward to writing up the show later.

I think I much prefer concerts in Europe. Seems like they’re less obnoxious… as long as you don’t have to drive to them when a Wasen is going on.

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