urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Feeling kind of silly.

I've been regretting not being physically up to walking Max and taking him to the park lately. He hasn't been getting many walks at all during the week, since Ingvar is usually pretty worn out by the time he gets home. I got to thinking (worrying, more like) about it more, since work will be sending him to the US for several weeks soon.

Then it occurred to me that I've been a muppet. There are lots of people eager to walk dogs for £10/hr. or so. I've done it myself, and am hoping to get a pet care business up and running again once my health improves enough. And, yes, I'd consider this a reasonable and fairly cheap accommodation for anyone else.

We'd already discussed maybe getting somebody in to help clean a couple of times a month or so, in a very similar vein. Neither one of us is great at tidiness, besides my pain and fatigue issues. We're actually pretty economically privileged in the scheme of things, and won't starve if we pay somebody to help clean on that kind of schedule. But, yeah, I've also put off looking into that, feeling like I "should" be able to do it myself.

Still, it hadn't even occurred to me that we could get someone to help walk Max.

Ah, disability shame and lingering ghost poverty! *facepalm*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
And on the lighter side...

Makes me smile

Hard to go too wrong with animal pics. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Mirrors has found a new perch on a (mostly unused) spot of kitchen counter:

A black-and-white fluffy tuxedo cat in a cardboard box barely big enough for the cat

And High-Vis Boy was very high-vis indeed, a little while ago:

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier in a hoodie with a reflective, high-vis vest, and a glowstick attached to his collar

I figured that one of the reasons Max has been so excitable lately, with the fireworks especially, is that he hasn't been getting nearly enough exercise; he's pretty high-strung at the best of times. (BTW, the half a Nytol--25 mg diphenhydramine--combined with a couple of Kalms Sleep is the best combo we've found. Thanks, [personal profile] angiereedgarner!) I just about felt up to taking him out today to run around off-leash and work off some nervous energy, but it had started getting dark by the time I got around to it. So, he got to be Super High-Vis Boy.

It was chilly enough for one of his hoodies anyway, so I safety-pinned his Reflectavest with the worn-out Velcro onto it. We had a spare glowstick from when [personal profile] vatine did him up as Low Rider Dog (photos didn't turn out so great), so I rubber-banded it to his collar. That worked well enough that I'm tempted to pick up another 3- or 4-pack at Poundland, for future use. :)

We went to the playing fields nearby, and it was kind of freaky, watching a glowstick bouncing around a little more than a foot off the ground. *g*

But, we already knew that visitors have landed in Romford, and tried to blend in with native dress:

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier in a hoodie, with the flash making eerie eyeshine
"Yawright? This is Essex, innit? Take me to yer lager...innit...mate...?"
Hoodie Boy in the playing fields after dark, last winter.

It turned out to be an even more excellent thing that Max was so conspicuous; when we got back close to the street, he decided to take himself home. *headdesk*

It just about scared the life out of me. I called for him on that street for several minutes, and one of the people living there told me he'd gone thataway, toward the one busy street between there and home. :( Max behaves like a total idiot near traffic; he gets very anxious indeed, and wants to dash straight in front of cars. Before we tried the front-clip harness on him, he almost pulled both of us humans into traffic more than once. (A low-slung 25 kg/55 lb. dog can pull, especially with those bully shoulders.) But, I was relieved to get to that street and not find him lying in the middle of it. :-|

I called for him repeatedly on the about six blocks home, and startled at least one fox crashing through the shrubbery. But, yeah, he was waiting outside the back gate, obviously wondering what had taken Mommy so long.

I was very, very glad to see him. And the next time I let him off lead there, after dark or no, he's getting captured again before we get anywhere near the street.

So much for taking it easy today. *shakes head* It's only 7 p.m., and after that, it feels like at least midnight.

BTW, in other dog-related news, we haven't seen nor heard the pup upstairs in better than a week. Neighbor Weasel took him somewhere in the middle of the night, and he hasn't come back. Wherever it was, it's probably better for him than living with Neighbor Weasel. :(
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Max is not enjoying the fireworks leading up to Diwali and presumably Bonfire Night. Not at all. He's been tolerating the small nightly volleys better than last year, but tonight there were a lot more.

Even after some Kalms Sleep* hidden in cubes of cheese, he found a new shelter earlier. In the shower.

Please ignore the stained grout. Max does. ;)

I guess it felt comfortably enclosed (by glass!), and it's probably the least disruptive place he's holed up so far. (The worst is probably a tie between repeatedly knocking the television over and bringing DVD players, etc. crashing to the floor, trying to hide in the back of the entertainment center; and ripping his way through the Masonite back of a bookshelf trying to get behind there.) I felt kind of cruel choking back laughter and grabbing the camera, but he was cute in a rather pitiful way.

Now that the fireworks are over for the night, he's back out and has even eaten some supper.

* Ye gods, the herbal manufacturer's site has a page on dream analysis. "If you do have a dream that’s concerning you to the extent that it causes you stress or anxiety, speak to your doctor who will be able to offer you the best advice for your circumstances." *snort* Bit of a shame this is the best stuff we've found for Max for thunderstorms and fireworks, annoying as the marketing is.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Via the [livejournal.com profile] petbulls LJ community:
Jean Donaldson Interview | ThePitBullHoax | YouTube -- [Jean Donaldson has been at the forefront of the science-based, non-force movement in dog training and behavior modification for over 35 years. As the director of the Academy for Dog Trainers at the SFSPCA, she has trained some of the best and brightest people in dog training and behavior. There is perhaps no one better in the world of pet dog training at determining how best to deal with dogs in all situations as Jean Donaldson.] (via truthaboutpits)

I am not up to making a transcript right now, unfortunately.

Hmm, could it be easier to scapegoat whole breeds of dogs than to look at social inequality? Odd suggestion.


Max is saddened by the prospect of being considered a Devil Dog. Even though, here in the UK, he has a specific exemption from the "[w]hether your dog is a banned type depends on what your dog actually looks like, rather than the breed or name by which it is called" legal (and perceptual) approach. ("Some kinds of American Bulldogs have been found to be Pit Bull types.")

Once we're in the US, things may be very different indeed, even though CA does not allow breed-specific bans.

OK, I mostly saw an opportunity to post that particularly vicious-looking photo. ;)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I just roasted some hulled sunflower seeds with a little soy sauce and garlic powder, and they smelled so wonderful when I took them out that I had to resist grabbing some while they were hot. :) Really easy, just drizzle the seasonings on them in a bowl, stir to coat, and stick them on a baking sheet in a moderate oven for about 5 minutes. Glad I set the timer for 5 instead of 10, because they were really toasty as it was!

Even though I've been trying to eat more sunflower and pumpkin seeds for both the yumminess and the magnesium content, I almost forgot we had a 500g bag of the sunflower seeds! They're still good, though.

ATM I'm eating some leftover enchiladas I put in the oven with them (microwave is kaput). Not forgetting to eat lunch is a good plan anyway, but I need to head out in a while to pick up a package at the postal depot, and would prefer that my blood sugar not dip too low. *shakes head* Max can go along, since it's a nice walk for him. We've been trying a front-clip harness to deal with his pulling--actually, [personal profile] vatine made one!--and it should be a lot easier on me to take him out. Bit of a vicious circle, that: he gets excited and super-pully, so Mommy can't take him out without pain, so he develops a lot more pent-up energy and turns into Pully Bully no matter what we do. That opposition reflex? He's got it in spades. If he weren't almost 12 now, he'd sooo love to do some weight pulling. (Well, I'm sure he'd still like it, but I'd feel kinda cruel to the old man dog, healthy as he is.) His walk is totally different with the harness, with none of that head-down, hunched-shoulders pulling posture. :) Hopefully this will improve the situation! This will be my first solo run with the new harness.

I'm looking forward to getting the benfotiamine in particular (not "just" preventative; I had a deficiency). I'd put off ordering more, out of false economy, since it's £20+ for a month's bottle here that goes for about US$12. But the muscle spasms have been getting worse again, and I really should know better by now, with the continuing polydipsia/polyuria. :-|

ETA: I was just about to flip because I couldn't find the "sorry you were out" slip for that parcel. That would be because I handily pinned it to the kitchen bulletin board. *facepalm*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Boomer is gone.

Neighbor Dude came back last night, saying that he'd been in IIRC Manchester after his daughter was in a car crash. I'd assumed he had at least one of our phone numbers, but apparently not. The movement up there was one of his friends, who was supposed to come by and get the pup, but I never saw any sign that he tried. ND did seem concerned about Boomer, at least.

At least he's back with Neighbor Dude on a trial basis. If he and New Girlfriend's dogs still don't get along, he's coming back to us; ND even mentioned changing the microchip info over to us. (Now he definitely has a phone number.) This is encouraging in a way, since presumably NGF is at least a little better at dealing with dogs, if she has two of them. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens, much as it chafes.

I've been more than a little sad and worried. Not too surprisingly, the little booger grew on me, and I was sorry to see him go. (Unlike Max, oh my.) Here's hoping that things work out well for him, either way.

Last night, I got back on the Stepping Out of Squalor forum. I have been extremely dissatisfied (read: overwhelmed to the point of near-paralysis) with the state of things around here for quite a while, but got a shove from the way I started freaking out at Boomer's dragging stuff around and making the mess more obvious. (We did some basic puppyproofing right after he came, and you could hardly tell within a couple of days.) It was overwhelming enough already, especially knowing that we're going to have to move at some point in the somewhat near future. One of [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands' posts, about procrastination, also gave me a push. Yeah, more inertia. *wry smile*

I found that forum (along with the Squalor Survivors site) very helpful before. But, I got discouraged and ashamed at the clutter reappearing in spite of my best efforts, and avoided the forum. Demand sensitivity and resistance also played in there; just going there felt like it carried a set of demands I couldn't handle, when I was already kicking myself. With any luck, I can stick with it and get some encouragement and inspiration through the near-inevitable setbacks, instead of just feeling like a failure and falling into the good old "growing up with a hoarder" learned helplessness. ("All the crap just comes back, and brings friends, no matter what I do--why keep trying?!")

I'm trying hard to pace myself, and not fall into the really unsustainable old clean ALL the things! mode:
Since I've exceeded my capacity for responsibility in such a dramatic fashion, I end up needing to take more recovery time than usual. This is when the guilt-spiral starts.

The longer I procrastinate on returning phone calls and emails, the more guilty I feel about it. The guilt I feel causes me to avoid the issue further, which only leads to more guilt and more procrastination. It gets to the point where I don't email someone for fear of reminding them that they emailed me and thus giving them a reason to be disappointed in me.

Then the guilt from my ignored responsibilities grows so large that merely carrying it around with me feels like a huge responsibility. It takes up a sizable portion of my capacity, leaving me almost completely useless for anything other than consuming nachos and surfing the internet like an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP.

Ouch. Entirely too familiar, even if I am purposely trying not to bash myself over the head with the "adult responsibility, why can't I do it?" thing these days. Combine real procrastination and demand sensitivity/resistance with inertia, and things can get ugly. But, keeping in mind that I can't do everything all at once in one giant frenzy, with any luck I can avoid falling into some of this pattern. And also avoid hurting my back, going into allergy/asthma/full-body itching fits, starting snapping uncontrollably at other people, etc. I'm trying to focus on what I am getting accomplished, which does seem to help getting around the demand resistance. I'm also wanting to try more backwards planning, as mentioned recently in an LJ community.

We'll see how this works out.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I am probably coming across as pup-obsessed lately, but this has been taking up most of my available time and energy.

Right now I am having some serious troubles with that newfound emotional regulation thing. (To the point that I have an eye twitch and a splitting headache, and my back is firing itself up again.) People are definitely upstairs, have been talking and laughing up there for a while now, and I recognized Neighbor Weasel's voice.

In a way, I am extremely pissed off that anybody could just dump their puppy with the neighbors, and not even check on him when they come home. (Twice now.) OTOH, I am glad he seems that disinterested, besides a chickenshit. Not only do I not want to turn the pup back over to someone I was within a hair of calling the RSPCA on, I do not trust myself to deal with the guy face-to-face right now. At all. Unless I want to get extremely mean-mouthed at the very least, and very possibly pop him upside the head, neither of which anyone needs.

Now I should probably go and get a hopefully relaxing cup of tea and some pain relief and valerian-based stuff. And try to stop grinding my teeth. ;)

Edit: For "turn the pup back over", read "get into probably a fight and quite possibly legal difficulties over refusing to give the pup back". Which was more what I meant.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Just because we couldn't resist taking advantage of some signage at a school up the street.

[personal profile] vatine holds the leashes of a sitting Max and Boomer, both Staffordshire Bull Terriers, in front of a gate with prominent "Staff Parking Only" signs.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Some not-so-great photos, but the dogs were looking cute enough that I couldn't resist anyway. :)

Max and the pup (now called Boomer), chilling this afternoon, on my laundry bag:

Now behind a cut )

Max wasn't sure he wanted Boomer to join him for a nap, but the pup wasn't taking no for an answer. At least he was chewing on a stuffed tiger instead of Uncle Maxie's ears, this time. And Max got some Kalms (valerian, etc.) earlier, before he got himself too worked up today.

My back is doing better today, and I woke up to not three or fifty-four, but no puppy puddles this morning. *g*


Aug. 11th, 2010 02:14 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Pup is still here. I suspect that the longer Neighbor Guy is gone, the less likely it is that he's going to turn back up to collect Pup.

Progress with Pup )

16:40 Update: Neighbor Dude is definitely upgraded to Neighbor Weasel. While I was in the shower a few minutes ago, I heard somebody go up the front steps (right next to our bathroom) and walk around upstairs. They were gone by the time I got dried off and out of there. And I would be astounded if anybody up there could not hear our shower going; we sure can hear theirs.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I am beginning to think that we've got a second dog, looking for one or not.

Our little houseguest. Complete with bone shards and a dish towel he managed to get hold of. ;)

Saturday evening, New Upstairs Neighbor (whose name I never even caught) asked us if we'd mind puppysitting overnight so he could go to his girlfriend's. No, not a problem at all. He said he'd be back in the afternoon yesterday; there's still no sign of him.

Pup is a nice pup, and has really been enjoying having an older dog to play with and more human attention. Max has been remarkably tolerant of Hyper Pup. My problem? Totally with his human. Somehow I doubt the guy got hit by a bus over the weekend, and is lying in the hospital somewhere.

Especially since it was hard not to notice that he's been dissatisfied lately, with the way he's been standing out on his deck and loudly complaining at friends on the phone. (Sometimes on speakerphone.) Apparently, it's to the point that he felt a need to tell Ingvar about it when he brought back a tool he'd borrowed and asked us to dogsit. He's been living up there not much over a month now, and his wife and toddler have left. Pup was apparently intended for the kid (new puppies and toddlers? not the best combo), and I can't help but suspect that he was expecting his wife to take care of Pup. He was saying that he wasn't well set up to look after a dog, and from what I've seen he hasn't been doing a great job of it lately. And losing his temper easily, apparently doing some displacement, and yelling at the poor thing. Yeah, I was paying close attention that it didn't tip over into kicking and the like. :-| Guy named a Staffie puppy "Rage", not the greatest sign ever. He was also telling Ingvar that he wanted to move back in closer to London, very soon. And New Girlfriend's dogs don't get along with Pup.

In retrospect, I'm not surprised he took off for a longer period of time. :-|

Oh yeah, and he didn't mention that pup, who looks to be about four months old, isn't house-trained. When he's outside, he'll go outside, but if he's in the house he'll just stop and squat so quickly it's really hard to get to him in time to move him outside. I'd had some suspicions about why pup has been spending so much time tied up outside on their deck, and yep. I have washed three loads with towels so far. And am not about to start in earnest into the process of teaching him to go out if he's going back upstairs. (I was hoping he'd get the idea reinforced by watching Max do so, but not so far.)

So, my overall impression? When he eventually comes back, to get his stuff if nothing else, Neighbor Guy may well want Pup to stay here. It would no doubt be a better setup for Pup, if not very considerate to us. At all. And the way he's been dealing with Pup lately, I would rather Pup not go back up there, rather inconvenient or no.

At this point, I have absolutely no idea what to say to the guy whenever he shows back up. Without losing it and yelling, myself--or being stiffly polite to keep from doing so--that is. I mean, really. How do you respond to that kind of behavior, without getting into a fight or coming across as a doormat?!

I'm trying not to worry about this, and focus on keeping both Max (lots of extra attention!) and Pup happy for now. Not much has changed for the cats, at least.

Update: Color me shocked. Unless the white van in his parking space belongs to somebody else, he's been back to collect it.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I've got a new, hopefully easy project: a cooling vest for Max.

Mr. Trot N. Grin, in the park.

Bully breeds tend to overheat easily anyway, and so do older dogs. Max is an 11-year-old Staffie. With what passes for a heat wave lately, he has been getting hot more easily than he did last summer, even. I'm sure the mostly-black fur doesn't help. We've been carrying along sports bottles of water for him to drink and to douse him with, but he's still been dancing on the verge of serious overheating when we've taken him out. So, [personal profile] vatine thought of making a cooling vest for him.

Come to find out, there are a number commercially available. If you want to pay £40 or so. He's certainly worth it, but something made from an old towel ought to work just about as well.

I was looking for sewn dog vest ideas, and ran across something easy and very suitable indeed: cool coats for greyhounds, which should be easy to resize.

I had been considering using the purple towel Max uncharacteristically grabbed up and ripped last month--seemed appropriate!--but the color's too dark, as I'd been suspecting. Looking at our stock of towels, I think I'll adapt the general design to use a couple of terrycloth tea towels instead. We have some just about the right size to go over his back--and if I roll one end down and stitch it to shorten the back, it should work somewhat like the cooling snood from that link around his neck. I may put a pocket for a sopping sponge at the neck. Add a chest panel and a wide belly strap from another tea towel, and we're set--without very much sewing required. (Especially good, since I haven't quite gotten comfortable with the "new" sewing machine, so will be doing it by hand!) I'll try large buttons, and go for the velcro or snaps if that doesn't do the trick.

Things have been quieter today, BTW. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's been a pretty good day so far.

Last night I was exhausted enough to fall asleep reading, about 4 hours before the usual bedtime. So, naturally, I woke up at about bedtime, in urgent need of the facilities and turning off the fish lights. I couldn't get back to sleep, but did get some reading time in, after all. :)

Since I was still awake when [personal profile] vatine left for an overnight trebuchet-building session a little after 9:00, and Max was excited to the point of acting demented, we took off for the park down the street. He hadn't been there in a while, and enjoyed it mightily. Not that any opportunity to gallop around off lead isn't welcome, mind.

Max was horribly pully on the way there, but my legs and hip held up remarkably well, anyway. He insists that we humans do multiple circuits of any park or playing field with him, so that was a good thing. :)

After the fog finished burning off, the weather has been lovely today, and I've stayed out in it enough to get mildly scorched. One drawback to the DIY lip balm: no sunscreen. :-| It was a good opportunity to get some more gardening done on the patio, after I woke up again from a much-needed nap.

I also got the bedroom goldfish tank cleaned. Being a tall one, it's at just the wrong level for maintenance without making my hip/back unhappy. So it doesn't get cleaned as frequently as would really be a good idea. Today it wasn't much of a problem, though, so it was a pleasantly exciting afternoon for Pepper and Salsa.

Salsa and Pepper, the ryukins
Salsa at top, Pepper at bottom. And a couple of their algae-covered plants.

Aquarium manufacture fail: the fluorescent tubes on that tank are old enough that they need replaced, so I was squinting at the underside of the hood to try to find out what size replacement T5s to get. I'm going to have to unplug and remove the hood, then remove a splash guard held on with multiple screws so I can get to the tubes--just to read their labels. Bah. Limescale is involved too, to be fair, but that hood is a general PITA.

Plans for this evening include throwing together some quick chicken and broccoli in a miso sauce, settling in with a book and either multiple cats or Max (they are getting along better, but not well enough for both), drinking a lot of tea, and maybe finding a watchable DVD.

Yeah, it hasn't been a very exciting day, overall--but peaceful is good sometimes!
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'm taking a break after lunch. Today I decided to take advantage of the continuing warm weather (cloudier), and get some container gardening done. A lot of this has consisted of weeding, but I'm finally getting the rest of the pansies planted out, too.

Max has mostly been basking on the patio, but he did decide to help a bit. He added some of his own special formula of nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer to the plastic bag spread out to catch the worst of the dirt. He even waited until it had a heap of soil on it, ready to top up a pot.

Ah, dogs. Male dogs.

An azalea with buds, but almost no leaves

I didn't think gastropods particularly liked azaleas, with their tough, leathery little leaves. I was very, very wrong. Oddly, they haven't touched the developing buds.

With any luck, it will recover in a sunnier spot, not shoved up in the snail habitat (a.k.a. the shady raised bed).

A very prickly rose bush

This is not the Portland Damask Rose de Rescht, as labelled; it may well be the Moss Alfred de Dalmas. They're about the same size, with similar growth habits. You can see the bit of Moss fuzziness on the unfurling leaf buds.

No matter the real variety, it's scary prickly! This photo doesn't do it justice.

I ran across some great photos showing some of the wide variety of rose prickles. Interesting.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Locomotive Boy was muy loco on the first leg of our little jaunt. Pant pant pant pant, pant pant pant pant...snort snort!

Not from today, but a stock photo of Mr. Pully Bully. He pulls. You can't see those bully shoulder muscles working with the hoody on.

He's doing a lot better than he did when he came (more than a year ago, wow), but I'm tempted to see how he responds to clicker training. What we've been doing hasn't completely worked, especially when he hasn't gone out in a day or two and is all excited.

I enjoyed it anyway, and he really seemed to have a great time in spite of his mud puddle in the park having dried up. *g* He got thirsty after trundling around for a while, didn't like the juice I'd thought to bring (no water, oops!), and wanted to go home.

We were out long enough that I got a little pink, but, then, I didn't know I could get as pale as I do here in the winter. The sun felt good, though!

Time for a little rest, some Nurofen Plus for my back, and then to cook up a batch of kitchen sink semi-Thai red curry.

Carpe diem!

Apr. 8th, 2010 12:43 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's one of those rare spring days here, with shirtsleeve temperatures and just a few cirrus wisps in the sky--so I'm planning to get out and enjoy it more in a while. :) Getting some sun on the patio has already felt great. Yay for Vitamin D.

Good thing my (prescription) sunglasses finally turned up. :)

I'm feeling pretty good, too. After while, Max and I can go and pick up a small parcel from the postal depot. Annoyingly, I didn't get to the door in time yesterday, and it already got sent back to the sender once because I was busy with the patio and kept forgetting to pick it up or request redelivery--best to go ahead and do that! On the way back, we may stop by one of the local parks for a while, so he can run around like an idiot off his lead.

The neighborhood is fairly dog-friendly that way; we've got three parks and some playing fields within easy walking distance (less than a mile). Still, I haven't been up to taking him out as much as both of us would like lately. This afternoon is a good opportunity.

[personal profile] vatine has been taking his newish DSLR along most of the time when he goes out with Max. (There's quite the gallery by now. *g*) Here's one from the weekend:

Hopefully he won't find another mud puddle today, and need another hose shower on the patio!

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