Doggen watchin'


Danger, through his mom, had given Kris two VIP tickets to today's A's game against the Mariners. The Mariners who, by the way, have Ichiro playing (Ichiro being the only consistent hitter I have in the Beat the Streak contest. At Doyle's suggestion, I prefilled Ichiro as my hitter for the next two weeks, in case I forget to pick a player. What do you know? My best streak is at 13 now. Kris' is at only 9.).

Not being exactly the biggest baseball fan ever, I suggested Kris ask someone else to go with him. Yes, I'd go, but wouldn't he rather go with someone who will also enjoy the game with him, and not go and wonder why she was there, thinking of all the other tasks she'd rather be doing? I mean, come on, think of the babies!

So, he called up his new best friend yesterday, and made plans. I offered to watchin' the doggen, so plans were made to leave from here, with two dogs having a doggie fun day at Krikitt Downs.

I'm still not sure what drugs I took to make such an offer escape my lips.

So, this morning, Andy came over with Blue and Shadow. Thankfully, he didn't knock when he arrived. Instead, he followed standard Krikitt Downs' friends protocol and walked right in. I love when my friends know they can do that, and do.

A short while later, Kris and Andy were off, and I was in the house with four dogs. Four dogs that, combined, were double my weight. More doggen that I'm used to having.

Blue spent the first half hour of his visit with me staring at the front door where Andy had gone through. He stared almost as if, by sheer force of will, he could bring Andy back through the door.

When that failed, he sat down next to me and stared up at me.


For two hours.

Might have been longer, I'm not sure. I tried to pet him, get him up on the couch next to me to snuggle me as Bella does. He wasn't having any of it, and sat there, staring and panting, panting and staring. At one point, he went back to the front door to stare at it, no panting. He returned a few moments later to stare at me.

And pant.

A strange way to spend the day, to be sure.

Eventually, the game ended, and the boys came back from the game. Blue heard the car door shut and either Andy's or Kris' voice first, and bum rushed the door. He was shortly followed by a Shadow, the Cone-head and the Howler.

That either Andy or Kris made it through the front door with the mounds of doggie flesh piled up behind it, amazes me still.

Air lick


I am licking the air. It is salty.

Dumb dog.

Andy's doggie adventure


Andy volunteered to watch the girls while we were in Boston. I though he was fairly insane when he offered to bring them over to his house for a slumber party.

Turns out, he was only partly insane. He let us know:

Sleep was a commodity in short supply Saturday night, although we had fun.

Blue and Annie ran around in circles in the back yard a bit, while I held
Bella and Shadow so they wouldn't bark. Annie seemed to be having fun, but
might have been a bit stressed about the whole thing. There was one tussle
at feeding time. Later, she spent a long time licking Blue's face (Blue
licked back--it was cute but weird), and then she tried to spend a while
licking my face, which was cute for a minute or two. Dogs will be dogs.

We had one group outing: to Whole Foods Sat evening. When we got there, we
had a vote and elected one person to go in and buy the goods while everyone
else waited in the truck. Luckily I was the only one that voted.

Annie, Bella, and Blue all wanted to sleep pressed up against me. Bella had
at least one spell of howling in the middle of the night. It's a little
hazy--there might have been two incidents. She finally settled down for good
around 4AM when she figured out how to get under the covers with just her
schnoz poking out.

Sunday, I couldn't come up with any plan to take everybody to the park that
I was happy with, so I decided to drop off Annie and Bella on the way around
10am. When I gathered everybody up in the truck, I had to search for Annie,
and realized she had found a hole in my doggie defenses: she was attempting
to consume a bag of mulch that was made from cocoa bean husks. They do smell
nice. Blue went at them a little bit, then gave up the day I got them. I
don't think she was at it long, but it was a little scary. There are no
warnings about dogs on the bag, but I really don't know whether it had any
properties of chocolate. I stopped back to check on her after the park trip
around 11am, and surprised Heather. Annie seemed fine, and I told Heather
what had happened. (I probably didn't surprise her as much as Crystal did
when she squirmed through the dog door to pick up the cones and white

Anyway, I think everybody had fun--including me--and I don't regret it a

Practice was very productive. Lots of women this time--we went 4-women about
half the time. Once, the defense ran 4-women by accident, and since they
were playing zone, no one noticed until the turnover. We had a scrimage, and
two games. Dark won the scrimmage 5-4, light won the two games 7-6 and 5-4.

Decisions of youth


Kris, Bella, Annie and I went to Andy's for dinner tonight. Andy grilled, which fit in nicely to Kris' and my agreement that this summer is going to be a summer of enjoying the outdoors in the evening. We went to the park near Andy's house for the dogs to meet "on neutral ground" before Bella and Annie toured Blue and Shadow's home as Blue and Shadow had done our house two weeks ago. The other thought of heading to the park was to tire them out before a bit so that the dogs would be managable during dinner. Unfortunately, Annie both runs away when she's offleash and doesn't tire very easily. So, instead of allowing her to run run run offleash, and run away, I ended up running next to her, with Annie on her leash. I tired out instead.

That, and the running made me sweat. I'm sure I was ripe before heading over for dinner. Poor Kris. Poor Andy.

Dinner was tilapia (for Andy and me) and salmon (for Kris), rice and mojitos. Andy's growing mint in his back yard, in a hydroponic pod he and his father built, which makes it really cool, and less likely to overtake his garden bed. Before he started the fish, he made us mojitos. I couldn't convince Kris to mash the mint in a rotating manner, so that I could wiggle my hips like the rum commercial. Instead, he just plunged the handle up and down, making my movements more like squats. Not very sexy.

The dogs were very much a highlight of the evening. Shadow likes to circle the yard, barking at birds and rats on wires. Blue and Annie wandered the house, Annie looking for food, Blue making sure she didn't find any. Annie is totally part of the Crews pack. She fit right in. Bella, not so much. She just checked out the house, then hovered around us.

I'm starting to believe Andy knew me in college as much as I knew him in college: which is to say, he knew of me peripherally, knew which house I was in, but didn't much pay any attention to me, as I was outside his world. Which suits me fine, as there are many, many, many parts of college I'd like to forget. The one part, however, that he did know about was my senior picture. "Want to see Kitt's senior picture?" Not that it's particularly forgetable. For some reason, that's what I wanted at the time.

At Tech, each senior receives a half page in the yearbook. A senior can submit one or several photos, and they'll be arranged with other seniors on the various pages, with a quote if desired. When I submitted my pictures, I liked them a lot. When the yearbook the following year had a senior picture in it that mocked my photo, I started to doubt the wisdom of my picture choice. That, and my mother was scandalized when she saw my pictures for the first time. Scandalizing one's mother? Not always a good thing.

So, in the spirit of embracing that which embarrasses me, making it my own, overcoming the embarrassment, I'll post my college senior photo. Imagine what it looks like, if this is the mockery in the following year's yearbook:

Pulgas Ridge hike


Andy showed us his Pulgas Ridge hike, with an off-leash dog park in the middle.

Andy told us about a hill in the park that he and the dogs run up. It's an insane hill. They run up, rest, walk down and run up again. Last week was a slow week, they managed only two sprints up the hill. Their record is five.

I'd be happy with one.

Shadow and Kris

Bella and Blue

Blue and his indestructo disc

The spider that wasn't


So, I was sitting with my computer on my lap, typing away at the couch, with the television playing some popular show in the background. I was "watching" the episode, which means I was peripherally listening to the show, but mostly concentrating on my work in front of me.

Sitting on the couch is just the worst for movement: I sink into the cushions and just stop moving. Bad for burning those extra 800 calories a day with constant fidgeting, but useful for relaxing.

To my surprise, after a bit of working, I had been so still that a spider crawled up my arm during a concentration pause. When I felt the movement on my arm, and looked down to see it's little black body, I yelped, jumped up and brushed it off.

A few minutes later, Kris walked in. "Did I hear a squawk?"

"Yes! There was a spider crawling on me, and it was THIS BIG!"

He laughed, and wandered into the kitchen.

A few minutes later, the spider was back, and this time, it was crawling across my hand. It was then that I realized that no, this wasn't a spider, spiders don't walk across hands. Oh. My. Tick!

I shrieked, jumped up, slammed my computer down on the table, brushed the tick off my hand and dashed around the table. "Tick! Tick! Tick!"

Moments later, Kris rounded the corner in the kitchen, milk in one hand, pizza in the other, watching me dance at the small bug on the pillow on the couch.

"You know, you can be such a girl sometimes."

"Yes, yes, I know, kill the tick for me, will you?"

Turns out, today's tick didn't attach to Annie on her off-leash run earlier in the day. Instead. it hitched a ride, looking for redder pastures than the muscle-y dog.

Redder pastures. Like my hip, no doubt.

Ticked off, times two


Kris and I made the journey to the Gulls again yesterday, this time taking the girls for a Christmas hike. We were planning on a long hike for Christmas day, where long is greater than three hours. After the call exposing the amazing gifts from the Gulls, we switched plans and asked if they were up for a hike, too. They were interested, but for a shorter one that Liza could walk, and suggested the trails around their new house. A few minutes later, we were on our way.

Kate had been on the trail we were going to hike. The trailhead was near the end of their road, so we wandered down the road, and turned to head along the trail back around to their house.

Once we hit the trail, Kris was terribly keen on letting the dogs off their leashes. Since the trail was along private property, Mike and Kate could give us permission to allow them off leash. I was a little worried about letting them off the leash: that Annie would take off and not return; that Bella would wander off and not return. When we let them off leash at other park, we're confident we'll find them again because not only is the park fenced in (leaving only about 30 acres where the dogs could get lost), but the interesting smells are centralized so they don't go too far. Annie is a beagle in fur only, she acts more like a lab or collie, in that she'll run away along a trail for twenty-thirty yards, then run back to see that you're following, run forward, run back and check. Bella is a true beagle, she puts her nose down, starts sniffing, and wanders away, following her nose.

After a short way down the trail, I agreed to let the dogs off the leashes, but quickly changed my mind when we had to stand around for ten minutes waiting for Bella to wander back to us. We put her on a leash, but left Annie to run, since she seemed to be following us.

Definitely a mistake, as she caught a scent and took off. We kept walking for a bit, as Annie's howls followed us as we walked along, but had to stop again when she seemed to be running along the top of the ridge instead of near us. Some of her howls were almost desperate, a sound Kris assured me meant only that she wanted us to come to her, see what she had caught.

After standing around for another ten or fifteen minutes, and hearing Annie's howls become fainter, I decided to run back to find Annie. I have no idea what possessed me to think that, after three years of ignoring me, Annie would suddenly stop chasing the delicious smell she was following, and come when I called for her. Clearly just dumb on my part.

I gave up after running a quarter mile back along the trail, and ran back to the group, telling Kris he had to go get Annie, she wasn't listening to me. Shock. Mike went with Kris as Kate, Liza, Maeryn and I went back up along the trail. We waited for close to half an hour before Kate gave Liza and I trail directions and instructions on how to break into the house, so that we could turn off the oven, saving the Christmas turkey. Mike hadn't been on the trail before, so Kate didn't feel comfortable just hiking away from Kris and him. She went back to find the boys, as Liza and I went home.

Liza was a trooper. She walked the whole trail, complaining only briefly in the last quarter mile or so. However, even that complaining wasn't really complaining so much as telling me she was tired, and, heck, so was I.

Mike and Kate asked us to stay for dinner, which was a tasty, tasty meal. We went home a little later. After we checked the dogs for ticks, I went to take a shower. That's when I discovered the little hitchhiker.

The poor shadow placement, not withstanding.

I'm really beginning to hate ticks. This is number two in as many years, and, as far as I'm concerned, two too many.

Especially since both are from chasing the dogs into the bushes.

Cat in my garden


Yesterday afternoon, after we arrived home from practice, I noticed Annie had eaten a quarter of the pie that Steffi had made for us. I had left the pie on top of the toaster oven, on the counter. In a fit of anger, I followed Annie around the house yelling at her, kicking her crate in frustration that she ate the food I wanted. Again. That dog has eaten more of my food, and more of my expensive, tasty food than we've spent on Bella in vet bills (and she's had two surgeries). I put her in her crate, and insisted she stay there, while I went to sleep to dissipate.

This morning, I was still angry at Annie. I pretty much ignored her before I left for work, then ignored her when I arrived after work. I fed them, then went outside to garden. I had watered the tomatoes and pumpkins, and was surprised the cucumbers were actually growing. I had covered the ground around them with mulch, and I think it helped keep the ground moist so that they could grow well.

I gave Bella some tomatoes and snap peas while I was gardening after she came out to watch me through the fence, but continued to ignore Annie when she sat next to Bella.

I've been trying to bring in a bucket of mulch and take out a bucket of weeds when I head into the garden. As I was picking weeds, I heard a cat purring nearby. I looked around, puzzled that a cat would be in my garden, and so close to me. Not seeing any cat, I looked around for Bella, thinking that she might be snuffling around outside the garden. She wasn't there, so I looked around. Where is that darn cat?

I looked up to see a humming bird dancing a little over a yard from me. It hummed along, sounding just like a purring cat as is flitted around. Amazed, I watched it as it landed on one of my tomato plants. I raised my hand, and reached out to it. It flew over to my hand, and buzzed around it, purring as it did, never quite landing on it, but close, about a hand width away.

It was amazing. The little bird flew around my hand, then circled my head, before flying up to the dead apricot tree to sit. It waited for a while, then flew around my upheld hand before buzzing away.

The moment was incredible, a small gift from nature.

Afterward, I felt my anger at Annie, which I had nurtured all day, just disappear. I gave her some snap peas, then her after-dinner treat. She seemed to understand I wan no longer angry at her, as she followed me around during my field run at Cherry Chase, seemingly happy that I wasn't ignoring her any longer.

The other garden surprise was the discovery the plant I thought was a unproducing acorn squash was actually a well producing zucchini plant.

Not that I have good luck with zucchini or anything. This plant has silver veins in its leaves. Will it, too, be bitter?

Good dog! Bad dog!


Annie killed a rat today. It might have been a really big mouse. And she didn't really kill it, so much as caused its death. As much as I want to say, "Yay, Annie! Good girl!" I'm mortified by how the rat died, and can't cheer her on as much as I want to.

Kris and I have been starting work on on the house. Before having the front yard landscaped, we replaced the sewer line, and figured we'd best paint the house, too, lest the landscaping be trampled by the painters. We're also having the whole house rewired, since we have exactly two grounded outlets in the house. I made arrangements for quotes for house painting and an electrician to come out, see what was up with the house, and give me quotes.

The painter came first, at 9:30. We walked around the house, looking at the various walls. When we approached the south wall, Annie and Bella were madly hunting. Noses to the ground, they were dashing up and down the yard along the fence, frantically following a scent. Bella would pause every once in a while and howl, but kept sniffing. I thought little of the event.

Having walked around the house, the painter guy and I went into the kitchen for a separate quote. The kitchen has been in the same state of incomplete surface remodel for the last two years, and I was tired of it. I'm sure Kris was even more tired of it than I was, having looked at yet.another.unfinished.project of mine for more than two days (possibly the cause of the household rule, "No more new projects until you finish the old ones." Either that room, or the bathroom, or the bedroom, or the office or the living room. One of those rooms.). The painter guy left and went to his car to write up a quote.

After twenty minutes or so, the painter guy gave me a quote, brieftly reviewed it, and left, just as the electrician was walking up. Excellent timing on everyone's part, and I started the house tour again, this time with the electrician. We went out back to discuss the electricity meter, which unfortunately, was installed poorly and allowed water to run along the exposed wires inside the meter. Lovely that.

As I turned to walk back into the house, Annie came running up to me all bouncy and excited. She jumped a bit, took two steps away looking over her shoulder back at me, then returned to bounce again when she realized I wasn't following her. "What is it, Annie?" I asked, looking up to where Bella was.

I walked over, and realized the dark grey object I thought was a stick on the ground by Bella was indeed not. It was a rat. A very wet, soggy rat. As I stood there amazed, it tried to stand and escape. Not thinking, I cried to Bella, "Get it!" and she ran over to it, howling. Annie was quicker, ran over over, picked up the rat and flipped it up. It turned in the air and landed with a soft splat on the concrete. Still alive, it tried again to get away.

Since the electrician was waiting, I went back into the house and finished the tour of the house, what I wanted done, which rooms would get ceiling lights, how many circuits, where would we add outlets. I asked for a lot of changes, figuring I could scale back as needed.

When we were done, I went back out to the backyard where Annie was still playing with the rat. It wasn't moving any longer, so I pinged Kris, let him know what was up, and told him I'd be throwing away the body. We chuckled about the whole thing, and I left to get a small bag. On my way out the door, I recalled Priyanka's dead squirrel incident, where she poked a "dead" squirrel, which wasn't quite dead enough, and it turned on her, latching onto her finger. She required a series of rabies shots and a lot of stitches. No thanks.

I walked back to the garage for gardening gloves, and walked back out to the backyard. As I crouched down and looked at the rat, I realized it was still breathing. It turned and looked at me. My next reaction was complete horror. This small creature was still alive, and being tortured by my dogs. Kris' dogs! Each breath was labored. I messaged Kris, exclaiming surprise at the fact the rat was still alive. He reaction: "Whack it with a shovel! One whack, dead!" I expressed my horror at the thought: the dichotomy of the situation not lost on me: I was perfectly fine with throwing away the dead body, but I wasn't willing to kill it.

Rats aren't particularly attractive creatures to me, Disney personification not-withstanding. The tails are kinda gross, too. Ick. But the thought of whacking the thing over the head with a shovel mortified me. I called Doyle to see if he'd come over and help me out. He was willing, but a short while out.

I found our shovel, and went to get the rat. Sure, the rat was going to die, but I didn't have to let the dogs gum it to death. I tried for a good three minutes to pick up that rat. It was limp and relatively unwilling to scoop up onto the shovel. I eventually managed to get it half on the shovel, and carried it folded over on the edge around to the front, dropping it on the driveway next to the jasmine. The dogs weren't too happy with me, as I took away their kill. I am, however, Alpha Dog, and I get the food, not them.

While I sat there, waiting for Doyle out front, I watched the rat. It's breathing was labored. A neighbor walked by, and stopped to talk to me. Her immediate reaction when I told her my dog had killed a rat, was, "Yay!" but when she realized it wasn't quite dead, also paused. We talked about inconsequential things, and, as I looked up to talk to her, the rat died. Scooping it up onto the shovel and into the bag was easy at that point.

The rat's death bothered me a surprising amount, it still bothers me, and will probably continue to bother me, as I think about it. Yes, I recognize the circle of life, the hunter and the hunted, the ridiculousness of the personification, and the destruction the small creature could wring on my garden and backyard. I know these things, yet watching an animal die was hard.

The older I get, the more I am aware of my own mortality. Working on busy work becomes more difficult. Having as much clutter as I have becomes harder. Letting go of things becomes harder. The thought of any of my family dying is crushing, yet I know it'll happen, and the older I get the more imminent such and event becomes. I want to hold all of my friend and family close and stop change from happening. Take this moment and keep it.

Yay, Annie caught a food stealing, potential rabies carrying rat. Oh, my, god, she killed another being. I can't resolve this dichotomy.

Ticked Off

Water Dog Lake!  (okay, so it's a pond)
This past Sunday, Mike, Kris, Bella, Rossi, Annie and I went to Water Dog Lake in Belmont. It's a nice little hike: about a mile up to the lake, maybe 1/2 mile around the lake, and a mile back. When we head up with Annie and Bella, they walk/run an extra 2+ miles, so it's good exercise for them. Bella tends to get lost in the reeds, but, eh, she's a hunting dog, and she's hunting.

So, we wandered up to the lake and Kris went off with Annie. I went off with Bella. And Mike went off with Rossi. As Rossi is a water dog, it was fitting that she should head into the water. So she did. Which worked well for Mike, as he was recovering from the flu that had him out for a week, and could stand around and watch her romp in the water.

I was not so lucky with Bella. She took off for the underbrush, and I needed to follow her. Up the canyon walls we went. Over the creek. Up the hill. Down the hill. Back over the creek. Through the reeds. Over the fallen trees. Into the mud. Out of the mud.


Given the sheer number of trees I had to scramble over, under, around and through, I was unsurprised when I arrived home with scratches on my arms. What did surprise me (and admittedly freaked me out) was the scratch on my right elbow.

Bella, Dogg & Boots

Or not so scratch: I found a tick embedded into my right elbow when I removed my shirt.

On went the rest of my clothes. Out the door sans shoes I ran, four doors down to Kate & Mike's: tick remover, alcohol and tweazers in hand. Kate doused the fucker in kerosene and popped it out. She did a great job getting most of the head out.

Once I was at the Bergeron-Gull house, the tick was kinda cool. I wish I had taken a picture of the thing. But I had left the house in a panic, so the camera was left behind. And Mike was a little big grossed out at my fascination, too. Heh.

I pulled 3 ticks off Bella, and none off Annie. I think the chasing-of-the-Bella was where I got my tick. Stupid dog.

I have elbow pictures around here somewhere. My elbow totally swelled around the tick bite. There was a small black thingy (about the size of the pointy end of a pin or needle) left in my elbow. The only reason I found it was because my body rejected it and spit it out today. I have a 3/32" blood blister at the bite spot, and a 1/4" red circle around it. I have no stiffness or flu-symptoms, so hopefully I'll be tick-disease free. We'll see. Quite the adventure for the week.