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Ok, this is more under the category of “things that can save your DOG’S life…” but close enough.

Last night, after I went to bed, Little started retching, like coughing/trying to throw up without producing anything.  I thought he was actually puking, so I woke up to clean it up – but found that he was just gagging.  Over, and over, and over.  And he had drooled all over the couch (and he doesn’t drool).

And he would stand up, retch, lay down, retch, stand up, retch…

So I decided to Google “dog retching”.  Which turned up several websites, all of which told me that retching unproductively was the number one sign of bloat (or gastric torsion) in large, deep-chested dogs.


Now, I will say, by this time, Little had *stopped* retching.  And, in fact, he was acting ABSOLUTELY FINE.

But then I found this site, which described how a dog had the SAME SYMPTOMS, and was happy and “wagging her tail”, who then DIED on the operating table.

If the intention of that website is to scare the living daylights out of its readers, well…it succeeded.

Little and I were off to the emergency vet.

(Thankfully, we live about 10 minutes from one, so this wasn’t nearly the big deal that it could have been at 2:00 am.)

And now…here is my second piece of lifesaving advice (for Fido…)

The vet said that about an hour before we arrived last night, another dog had come in, dead on arrival, because his owners didn’t know that retching unproductively was a sign of bloat.  They thought they’d let him wait it out, and by the time he stomach got the characteristic “bloat”, it was too late.

So if your deep-chested dog is exhibiting retching, drooling, or any of the other symptoms listed on that link – take the dog in.  It is a really easy diagnostic process.  If it is bloat, and it goes untreated, it is fatal.

Our happy ending:  $200 later…Little is absolutely, perfectly, totally fine.  He loved the X-ray machine and apparently loved having sandbags placed on him (to hold him still for the X-ray) and thought it was a great field trip at 2:00 am.  His stomach was totally fine, his other organs were in the right place (I wasn’t really worried about that, but she kindly highlighted it for me anyway 🙂 )…but hey, better safe than sorry, right?


(Although I do wish it hadn’t cost $200.)

A little levity (sort of):

Little is an exceptionally empathic dog.  I didn’t realize how insanely tuned in to my moods he was until recently, but he is (apparently) really in tune with our tone.  Really.

When I got pregnant, he was SO into my stomach.  Remember the post (that I am way, way, way too lazy to find, two months back) where he was humping the bed and I thought it was just insanity?  Yes.  He knew there was something up with that tummy.

When we lost the pregnancy, DB and I came back from our appointment on Wednesday, sobbing.  Sobbing, sobbing, sobbing.  We went through multiple tissue boxes, sobbing.

When we looked up, we realized that Little was crying, too.  His nose was running, his eyes were full of tears, and it was unmistakable:  our dog (yes, I said DOG, and I know you all are rolling your eyes now) was crying.  With us.

He did it multiple times.  He had ample opportunities, because we wailed, sobbed, and pleaded with God – a LOT.  And every time, I’d look up at his big, black eyes, staring at me (inches from my face), his nose dripping.

Our dog seriously cried with us.

(The night before the D&C, we also let him sleep with us, and he farted all. night. long.  Audibly.  I finally kicked him out at 4:30 because for the LOVE, people, seriously?!?  It added an interesting soundtrack to my sobs and prayers and mourning.)

Well, then I got sick.  As in, I didn’t heal from the D&C very well.  And Little, it seems, went on a poop embargo.

He moped.

He sighed.

He cuddled up in my legs on the couch.

He waited by the bathroom door for me during my interminable bathroom trips.

And although DB took him outside multiple times to relieve himself, he never pooped!

For two full days!

Finally, you will be relieved to know, tonight – after I stopped being so sick, and when I was finally able to sit up and not sob in pain – Little finally, finally pooped.

DB said, “I guess you’re feeling better.”

Now for the emotional healing.  Apparently my dog is relieved that physically, I’m on the road to recovery.

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments!  So Operation Bare Feet/Safe Crawl is underway.  We are ripping up the kitchen floor (not pine, just really crappy wood that has only been there for a few years and is disgusting) and the hallway (pine, but beyond repair – we’ve known we had to replace that for a while and there is no way around it) and replacing it, and then refinishing the pine in the living room and guest bedroom – IF we can manage it with the old, dry wood.  The new wood is, thankfully, a good approximation for the pine, so there SHOULD be a good overlay between the two (although one is hard, and difficult to scratch, and the pine is easy easy easy to scratch…oh well).

I’ll take some before and after pics so you can tell me if we made a good decision.  Right now the place is a disaster area with wood/our kitchen stuff/etc everywhere.  🙂

Our poor cat is locked up in the closet (the future baby’s room…yes, our closet – do you think we’ll scar the kid for life?) and Little is off at the kennel.  Apparently he was SUPER psyched to be spending the weekend there.  Sniff.  I guess we rank below the sketchy dude at the kennel.

And…last night we went to a church extravaganza to celebrate our church’s very old birthday (we go to a very historic church, and it’s been around through the Civil War and other such exciting times…)  I was debating between squeezing into a dress versus wearing jeans, a Bella band, and DB’s sweater.  To the cocktail-style dinner.

I managed to pull off something else.  I think it was okay…

With the help of Spanx.  Which, honestly, is a post in and of itself.  Suffice it to say:  even the tightest, most restrictive of Spanx cannot squish what nature is determined to display, even at a painfully early week of pregnancy.

How many people do you think will ask me if it’s twins before next week, when I can confirm (for the THIRD TIME) that it is really, seriously, truly, only ONE lime-sized baby?!?  So far, the count is three.  THREE ballsy people who have suggested that I am growing multiple humans*!  Without any evidence other than my expanding gut!


*If this really WERE me, I would be STOKED.  But since it isn’t, I am mildly offended.

So I have thought this for a long time, and behold! it is 11:00, and I should really have been doing physics homework by now (if you are not getting the picture that physics is the bain of my existance, it IS), but instead!  I have been searching for baby names.  Obviously very VERY important, at 12 weeks gestation, to look for baby names.

(Yes, we will be finding out the sex.  So-and-so found out the sex ALREADY and SHE is only ONE WEEK ahead of me – UGH THE COMPETITION – because she did the nuchal translucency scan, which is high resolution, and we are OLD SCHOOL and not doing such screening things, so alas – we must wait.  For 6 more weeks.

Is this what parenthood is like?  Competing already?!?)

OK – so anyway – baby names.

I have, in my head, many baby names that I like.  (Is this where I share them now?)  Except that they each have a problem with them, and so I am hoping that you all will NOT SKIP THIS POST, and help me, because you all – even those of you who are not yet parents – are BETTER at the name game than I.

OK, behold the list:

(Also, I am sharing because this is DB’s LEAST FAVORITE GAME and I want to talk about it!  So there!  He keeps suggesting one name, and I keep nixing that one name, and it is getting OLD OLD OLD, people.)

Actually, I should say:

Here are my stipulations.

1)  Name must be able to be shortened.  Like I should be able to shorten it, add a cheesy “-y” to the end when child is an infant, or still growing in my tummy, and it should not sound stupid.

1b)  It cannot end in -y already.  Or -ie.

2)  Along with that, name must be able to sound adult and mature when child is not a child anymore.  This is CRITICAL.

3)  Name is preferably not super popular.  However, you will notice that I breech this rule pretty much constantly.

4)  Name must not end with -er because our name ends with -er and it will sound like we have a gutteral issue.

5)  Name must go well with “Lorin” or “Lauren” in the middle, since we are using that as the child’s SECOND middle name.  Probably.  Name of deceased relative.  Cannot go into that any further.

6)  Yes, child will have three names.  Anyone have a problem with this other than DB?  He thinks it’s ridiculous.  I think it is perfectly fine.

7)  Name cannot be a name that someone who is due ahead of me is using.  This creates an issue.  So if you are pregnant and you know me well, could you please, um, share your name so I we don’t use it?  I don’t want to be a brat and take your name accidentally because I’m doing this too early.  K, thanks.

ETA:  Also, nothing that is the name of an alcoholic beverage (like “Jamison”).  And nothing from pop culture, like “Silas” (from Da Vinci code) or “Isabella” (Twilight) or…etc. Although there are about 15 names that I love that got eliminated that way.

Apparently I have a lot of rules.

And now, here are my names, with their issues:

Girl names:

1)  Emma – I love this name.  I have loved this name for forEVER and now it is POPULAR and I am TOTALLY ANNOYED.

Also, DB was in a bar once and there was a woman with big boobs there, and some random dude yelled to her, “EMMA!” and caused him to forever wonder if Emma was somehow related to well-endowed women.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Internet research has proven totally useless on this matter.

2)  Grace:  I love this name, too, and it totally violates rule #1, but you can still make it cute (ie, “Gracie”). I believe it also violates rule #3.

However, Grace was the name of a dog that I loved.  I’m actually okay with this, because it was the name of the dog that made me want to get Little – Grace was another Giant Schnauzer – but still.  A dog. (*see below for rant on people naming their dogs.)

3)  Katelyn:  I do love this name.  DB hates it.  I’m working on him.

4)  Rebecca.  I just like it.

I’m out now.  I know, I know, I totally suck.  Please suggest some other names.  There may be others I was thinking about yesterday, but I’ve forgotten them now.  I have a major sieve-brain problem these days.


I seem to have more of these.

1)  Jacob:  I love this name.  A lot. See breech of #3.  Again.

HOWEVER, our friends named their dog Jake, and this has apparently ruined this name for our child forever.  THIS IS SO ANNOYING.  (We are not the hugest fan of dog Jake, which is really the issue between Grace and Jake.)  UGH!

2)  Micah: Although perhaps a cliche, I think Micah 6:8 is one of the best verses in the Bible.

Although:  more edit:  I texted DB with this name just now, and he wrote back, “It is also a good nickname for our kitchen counter.”

He is a funny one, that D.  Grrr.

3)  Isaac.  I think another breech of rule #3.

4)  Isaiah.  breech, again.  Perhaps there should not be a rule #3.

That might be it for that, too.

So here, let me rant a little bit on animal names, here:

I actually know a lot of you have breeched this particular beef, and don’t worry – I am not *really* upset, but hear me out:

We named our animals “Little” (for our massive dog) and “Chomper” (for our mean-spirited, but beloved cat).

There is not a soul on this Earth who would ever dream of naming a child either of those names.

When people name their animals people names, and I happen to LIKE the people name for my future children, it DRIVES. ME. INSANE.

Mostly because then it is ruined forever.

Because our child will think s/he is named after an animal.

When really, really, really, it was just a coinky-dink.

So please, I impore you, think of the children when you name your pet.  Really!  There are great names out there!  You can even be funny!  Or creative!  And it doesn’t mean you love your pet less to name it a non-human name!

That is my little sidebar.

Now…who is going to help me?  Please?  Please?  And also, don’t hate my names.  I know they are not unique.  I like unique names, so if you have unique suggestions, please please PLEASE throw them out there.

P.S.  I could care less if you use my names.  So consider that plea – the plea to share with me – only for your *own* protection, because I frankly do not care whatsoever if someone uses the same name we do.  However, I recognize that not everyone feels this way…

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It’s been a long time coming, but today I finally did it.

I am, like, an uber-Internet stalker.  Maybe not the WORST internet stalker out there, but I seem to really like spying on people.  Until recently, I read people’s blogs without commenting on them (ok, I realize a lot of people do that), but then I went on Operation Comment and it seemed to do the trick.

And…I am a member of umpteen Yahoo! groups.

These are not nearly so bad in the stalker category, because they require you to introduce yourself, but STILL.  I literally receive roughly 400 emails a day from these groups.  (Don’t ask why I don’t switch to digest.  I don’t know.  I like to be able to search and find a whole conversation of messages all at once, and with digest it is impossible to follow along…ok, weak excuse, but it’s the truth.)

I am a member of a Giant Schnauzer group, TWO (yes, TWO!) Vietnam adoption groups, a Kygyzstan adoption group, the Adoption Agency Research group, and some other various groups that do not really add up to my total, so I won’t even bother mentioning them.

The GS group is INSANELY active.  Oh my goodness.  Hello there, if you’re from that group, and it is a very, VERY friendly group (I used to be on another MEAN Giant Schnauzer group, and they made the adoption groups look like panzies) (Is that even a word?  Pansies?  Panzies?  Like flowers, right?) – but they respond. to. every. email.

Which was just getting out of control for me.

Then the Vietnam lists.  Now, you will notice something, right?  Do we HAVE an adopted child from Vietnam?  No, no, no, we do not.  Does it appear that we WILL have an adopted child from Vietnam?  No, not exactly.  Not my choice, but there are things beyond our control that have yielded that outcome.

Does the Vietnam list add something to my parenting knowledge?  Well, yes, and I am sorely in need of *actual* parenting advice, although I would be a rockstar of parenting a doll at this point.  But the latest blow up was over cosleeping and whether the AAP is the end-all and be-all of parenting practices, and frankly it drove me…well, it drove me insane.  Inconceivably, it drove me MORE insane than I was before.

And then the email came on the other list about “when” Vietnam will open up again for adoption…because this person might “age out” soon.

AS IF that is the important question in the whole thick of it. (!!)

And now, my readers, I present to you…

The new, improved, Internet Rachel.

Who has unsubscribed* from not only APV, LVC, AND FOGS, BUT has restrained herself from a response to the woman who asked about VN reopening.  (I have, in the past, sent maybe one email to someone who was bashing someone else.  I try to take the high ground.  Really, I do.  And whenever I have sent that one email – it has maybe been two emails – I always get a bajillion emails back.  “Go you!”  “You suck!” – really, it is not healthy!)

I stuck with AAR.  Because I need to know what is going on in the adoption world and it covers a lot of issues pretty well.


In other news…

I have become obsessed with Teflon.  Seriously?  Pregnancy has made me IN.SANE.  And our pots – they are nice, but our stupid pots – are all COATED in nice, nonstick, TEFLON.  The spawn of the devil, this Teflon.

In a fit of tears, I told DB last night that I was so STRESSED OUT because I was sipping (sipping, people, not gulping – I think I had a total of 5 sips, because I read it would help my gurgling stomach) Coca-Cola, with its evil High Fructose Corn Syrup (commercials be damned, I have not avoided ALL MERCURY for a stupid sip of COKE!), and TO TOP IT OFF, we are using TEFLON!!!!!!!!!!

He comforted me, told me that it was probably OK in moderation**, and we skipped off on our merry way.

Then, this morning, guess what I found?!?

Last night’s dinner, STORED IN OUR TEFLON PAN, in the fridge. (He did the clean up last night.  I went to bed at 8:30ish.  I felt like CRAPPOLA.)

Woman possessed much?

I wonder how many FBI agents get a message on their work VM that goes, “HONEY?!?  What part of “I am scared of Teflon” means you store the food in the TEFLON-COATED PAN?!?”


Edited:  OMG I am going INSANE.  I was looking up some information for a friend, and found:

And seriously?  Seriously?!?

Another day, I will write a thoughtful blog post about the role of guilt in the first 100 days of pregnancy, and how it is a sinking reality that “guilt” will be around for the next 55 years of my life, God willing.  But right now, I am just going to crawl into my hole with a glass bottle of leafy green organic vegetables.  Grown in  a bubble, because Lord knows that my urban garden is probably filled with…something.

Not to mention that we have ONLY plastic cutting boards.

I’m sorry, kiddo.  Mom and Dad are trying.


*OK, not really unsubscribed, but on “special notices” – which means I can still read online.

**I know this is true.  However, I have become Insane Rachel in the last 5 weeks.

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I have nothing to say! Can you believe it? But I am still adhering to my NaBloPoMo commitment, whatever that really means, so you get to read my drivel for the next few seconds.

Seriously, I have nothing to say. Here are my current thoughts of the moment:

  1. The situation in Mumbai is sickening. It is now the first thing I check when I get online, replacing my email. DB, who has some negotiation experience (that is all I can really say about that) says that from a textbook standpoint, the situation is being handled in exactly the wrong way, and it is costing people’s lives. The FBI will go to help local law enforcement in countries around the world, but they (the country) must request their (FBI) help, and we don’t think India would feel compelled to do that. So, I remain addicted and saddened and sickened and horrified, waiting for this terror to end. (Not to say that with FBI involvement, it would end, and for sure, the FBI has butchered some negotiations, but they have a lot of experience in this type of situation. So do some other organizations in other countries.)
  2. We did not really go shopping today. We did go into a Circuit City that was closing and a Best Buy that wasn’t closing, and saw absolutely no great deals. I am looking for a camera lens (which I will probably not buy unless it is an insanely amazing deal) and we are pretty much the quintessential Cheap Shoppers this year, and we agreed to Stick To Our Gift List (which is really, really short this year, too), and so we walked out empty-handed. I did go to a Target to buy some body wash and deodorant (seriously, running! out! of! ideas!) and it was a mob scene, which made me so happy that I didn’t do much more shopping. Maybe tomorrow.
  3. We need a car. We seem to be having a difference of opinion on what type of car to buy, though. The situation is this: we have a gigantic dog and a VW Golf (which is doing much better now – we fixed its defibrillation issue and its sundowning issue and it is now dashboard-light-free!). We are in the process of expanding our family at some point, and our car is REALLY TIGHT even now. Like this weekend, we have two carryon bags and some stuff for the dog and my schoolwork, and the car is pretty much full. Last year for Christmas, this is how we travelled:


…where Little is checking out what we are eating. Note the jacket in the passenger seat, the bags behind the back seat and the crate folded up behind the front seats (and not shown: the bags stacked up to the window where Little’s head is. Also not shown: the bags at my feet.)

(but isn’t he cute?)

So anyway, we need to buy a larger car. I think a Subaru Forester is the greatest car ever. Although he is really an open-minded guy, for some reason DB is not thrilled with the connotation. (I say, since I’ll be the one driving it more, and I could care less, who cares?!?) He wants a Toyota Highlander. I think the Highlander is massive, but he (rightly) points out that a Forester is equally gigantic, and I (rightly) point out that the older ones are not as big, and he (questionably) points out that the older ones are the ones that are really the prime models of the vehicle for the stereotype. Whatev.

(Edited: DB really wanted to show you this ad. In case you’ve never seen it. Sorry for the poor quality.)

(In my research for this post, post-hitting the “publish” button, I found lots more ads, including those that said, “Likes to be driven hard and put away wet“, and I found this blog post.  OK.  So there may be something to this, and it seems that Subaru really tried to target the LGBT community with its advertising, but still!  Who cares?!?)

So the other night, we were driving down for Thanksgiving, and we were both exhausted (at 1:30 am) and I popped in the Indigo Girls CD from college. The one I know every. single. word. of. And I belted it out, and as I was singing the Power of Two (which I also love), I turned to DB, and said to him, “You know what my ultimate fantasy is?”

He said, sleepily, “What?”

“To sing this in a Subaru Forester!”


OK, that’s my filler post. Good night!

The other night, DB and I were watching Lou Dobbs on CNN. At the end of the show, he has these reader comments splayed across the TV, and one comment really struck me. Some woman stated (and this is REALLY paraphrased – I tried to find it online and it’s impossible) something to the effect of, “Thanks to the abysmal policies of [someone – either Congress or GWB], we have nothing to be thankful for this holiday.”

So I said I paraphrased, but that middle phrase was a direct quote. Nothing to be thankful for. Seriously?!? Is that woman serious?

In this country, even in the midst of an economic crisis, we have so much to be thankful for. We have rights, and freedoms, and a Constitution that is (mostly) respected. We have (mostly) clean water, and social programs. We have laws that require really sick people to obtain minimal care in emergency rooms. We have faith.

I mean, if you’re homeless and unemployed, at least we have this.

There’s a homeless guy in our neighborhood that takes our water – we have a faucet outside of our house, and he comes over every morning with a bottle and fills it up with our water. In the beginning of this little ritual, I was really bothered by this. He was on OUR land, and stealing OUR water, and because he was there so frequently, even Little was used to his presence – which really made me uncomfortable.

Then, I realized that it was really dumb that I was so concerned. It’s WATER, for Pete’s sake. And the guy is thirsty. He probably doesn’t have anything else, but at least he has a bottle of water. Clean, potable, free water. If that’s the least we can do…

(You may be wondering what type of neighborhood we live in. We really do live in a nice neighborhood. It’s just an urban neighborhood.)

DB and I have so much to be thankful for, way, way, way above and beyond the basic things I could think of to list above. (I started to do the daily posts but got a little sidetracked…it was not intentional.) We have an amazing family and amazing friends. We have each other, and although occasionally we get irritated with each other, we have an incredibly rich and blessed marriage and we are so thankful for that. We have a roof over our heads and we are not facing foreclosure, or anything remotely close to that. (One of us has) a reliable, predictable job that pays a living wage (ok, a lot more than that, but this is one of my personal political hotbutton topics so I had to throw it in there) and we can even go out and eat in a restaurant if we so choose! (On the issue of jobs, I am working on the whole reliable aspect of mine…but I have a job that pays a living wage, nonetheless.) We have a puppy and a cat and we are working on the little human. We have a faith that sustains us and our marriage, and we have a God Who loves us unconditionally.

We are safe, warm, and healthy.

We are incredibly blessed beyond measure.

It saddens me greatly that there are those in our country who see politics as such a potent force that they have *nothing* to be thankful for – that they feel so strongly about this that they write to a news show, and that the news show thinks this is a good thing to show everyone else.

No, we have so much to be thankful for. And we should be thankful for these things the other 364 days of the year, too.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Peace and blessings this holiday season.

P.S. I just took this picture the other day, and I absolutely love it. It’s a picture of DB and Little playing ball. They play this crazy version of keep-away, and it’s so cute. You can see Little checking DB out of the corner of his eye to plan his next move with the ball (it’s bright orange, can’t miss it).

I am so thankful for these moments.


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We won!

I actually wrote this long post about how I had nothing in my head, and then I realized I had a post in my head that is actually slightly less boring.

Our mice drama is most likely over!

I have these funny pictures from our times with the mice.  We are actually still living in hiding (aka in our guest room!) but we have yet to catch a mouse and we’ve yet to see any additional evidence since closing up all of the holes, so we think we’ve won.  Yay, us!

In the meantime, I took some pictures of our lives when we moved out of our bedroom and closed up all of the holes… (If you think this is boring, you should have seen the post that I didn’t publish).

So the last time I wrote about the mice, it was just a long post about all of the drama surrounding our mouse fight.  However, here you can see it in pictures!

So first we totally cleared out the closet and placed traps baited with cat food and honey everywhere.  This meant that our cat then had to eat on the kitchen table.  We’ve spent a long time convincing her (with strategic water bottles) that she did not need to be on the kitchen table, so this is a kind of a PITA, but, alas.

However, she was not psyched to get back on the table.  So this is how she ate the first night:  on the floor, with Little monitoring her every move:


(See how well he listens to us?  “Leave it” is the best command ever!  And see how well they get along?  That is just natural took a year of painful training.)

Then we had to replace the dishwasher, and we found evidence of their entry points, which necessitated cleaning out our major corner cabinet (where we store all of our random kitchen utilities:


This cabinet is HUGE.  So huge, in fact that it fits DB, shown here filling the cabinet’s holes, supervised by our hairy children animals:


And, in fact, it actually fits both Little AND DB:


And that is it.  After living with our appliances splayed all over the kitchen, we finally put them back in the cabinet and we haven’t seen a mouse since.

I never thought I’d say it, but I am running out of things to talk about.  And that is saying a lot, because I typically have verbal diarrhea, in case you didn’t notice.

Anyone?  New topics?  I plan to cover abortion and the Patriot Act and HIV/AIDS for AIDS Day (yes, I will do it, Christine) when I have more energy, but I am exhausted right now.  Brainless topics are always welcome 🙂

I have to say, I kind of miss the muppet look for its cuteness, but this haircut is WAY better for our health (allergies), our house (it’s so much easier to keep clean!), and our happiness (see above!).

Behold, the difference:



It’s like an entirely new dog!  (Like the hankerchief?  We always try to keep it on him for a day or two – they are usually holiday-related, but I guess this year it wasn’t close enough to Thanksgiving to score a Thanksgiving-erchief.)

Also, we went back to the park on Tuesday, and there were still some trees determined to keep their brilliant color.  I LOVE THIS COLOR!  This is probably more than you’d ever want to see of a) the color of the trees in my local parks, and b) our dog!




And, of course, the ever-present attempts (and failures) to capture greatness in photography of Little.  None of these are good, but I think they have a certain impressionist quality.  It is certainly nothing that anyone would actually INTEND to create, however.  This is more appropriately titled:  Playing With My Shutter Speed.


(Impressionism at its very finest)
(That is a joke)


(The wheaten turned out better than Little here.  This Wheaten is one of my favorite dogs in our neighborhood and randomly turned up in the park, too!)

(This picture was black before I hit “improve it” on the picture software)

(I really need better software.  Right now I use the Mac iPhoto software.  When I lived in Vietnam I purchased an illegal copy of Photoshop, but it has conspicuously disappeared.  My lovely husband was not a fan of my various media purchases in Vietnam.)

(Hey, just because I’m talking about it – you know what else I sacrificed in the name of being a Good FBI Future Wife?  The sixth season of Sex and the City on DVD, which I bought for $5 and was even cooler than anything you could get here:  it had subtitles, in English, written by the Chinese dudes who had pirated the DVDs – the subtitles were what THEY thought the actors were saying.  Think for 2 seconds what the topics of Sex and the City were, and you will realize that those. DVDs. were. priceless.)

(Oh, the things we give up for Rule Abiding Husbands.)

(To be fair, the (totally illegal) DVDs also had the FBI warning on them.)

(And DB had just graduated from the academy.)

(Moving on…)


(I just really love this tree color!)


(This may be my best attempt so far, which really doesn’t say so much for my skills.  More to come this weekend, but don’t worry – I probably won’t post them unless they are exciting in some way…)

I know everyone is now tired of my pup.  I am storing up all of the things I need to write with a password for that next post, which will hopefully come in the next few days (but I have an exam on Monday and I’m working tomorrow, so we’ll see).

Have a great weekend!

I am trying to see if I can actually post on a daily basis, and I think I am like 30 minutes off by EST.  I do not want to fail at the NaBloPoMo if I sign up for it, and I have a feeling I will fail.  Alas.

So the other day, Little broke a nail playing with his buddy for several hours while I went to work (I do home visits; I dropped him off at a friend’s house and he played with their lab for 6 hours! Straight!).  I freaked out, because Giant Schnauzers are prone to toe cancer (SCC) – so DB and I, like overprotective parents, took him into the vet to be…vetted.  Ha ha.

Anyway, while we were there, there was this picture on the wall.  It was a phenomenal photo of a greyhound running, full steam ahead, legs extended, in perfect focus with the background out of focus, as if to demonstrate how incredibly fast she was running.

I fell in love with the photo.

I decided that Little, too, could be documented in this way.

By me.

So I realize on the last post there was this picture of Little with half a face missing.  I do not know what my problem was there – I am not usually THAT bad, but at that point, I had just gotten a new, exciting DSLR camera.  I had P&S cameras my whole life, and I had probably taken about 4000 pictures with those, and I decided, finally, that it was time to step up.

Stepping up, however, required a lot of new techniques if I wanted to avoid using the “P&S, even if you have a camera that really doesn’t require it”-setting.  So I read a book (I know, I am pathetic) and I practiced.  At least I  can say that I have now taken approximately a bajillion pictures, although about 2-3% of them are awesome.  (That is actually probably an excessive estimate.)

So here, I unveil to you, my attempts at action-photography of Little.  You might notice that I have a real issue with focusing on HIM, versus oh, say, the BACKGROUND.  Anyone?  Help?  I know you all are better than I am at this…

These were taken last weekend (the day after the vet visit – ha! I was so eager) and today, at some local parks.  Note pretty foliage, or former foliage on the ground.









Now, as you see these pictures, I am going to guess this is what is running through your mind:

1)  Wow, she really needs a child.  (Yes.)

2)  Wow, she really needs help with photography.  (Yes.  And you should see the ones that didn’t make it in here.  Seriously?  I probably have like 500 more.)  So tell me:  why on Earth is his face always blurry?!?  How can I be better?  I am going to do some internet research on this tomorrow, when I am procrastinating from Bio reading.

3)  Wow, her dog is really big.  (Definitely yes.)

Thoughts?  These were taken last weekend and this weekend, in my attempts to a) document the foliage and b) become more adept at taking action shots.

But see?  I can take one of his face:


Now you’re thinking one of two things:

a)  Wow, they actually own a Muppet, not a dog, or

b)  Don’t they ever GROOM him?!?

And the answer would be:  next week, and he’s definitely a dog.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some updates, including an update on this post (long overdue – sorry about that – the short answer is: GOOD NEWS!) and some updated pictures of our last few months (that will include our – gasp – faces! – and will be more explicit about our location).  As always for those types of topics, I will PW-protect it with PW.  I hate using different ones all of the time, but DB gets nervous, so I will probably have to.  If you would like the PW, shoot me an email or leave a comment here (basically, anyone who I’ve left a comment on their blog, or who knows me IRL).  I know there are throngs of you waiting.  🙂  Ha!

Have a good night!

And now…for something way less intense.

One of the “major issue[s]” facing the Obama family is what type of dog to adopt. The future presidential dog must be hypoallergenic, since Malia, President Obama’s daughter, is allergic to dogs.

DB and I have decided that we should nominate our puppy’s breed, the Giant Schnauzer, for this Very Important Role.

Of course, we do not take this lightly. Although Little is a very good candidate for play time, romping around, and he is, as requested, hypoallergenic, he also has this certain other quirk: he doesn’t so much like new people coming into his space, although he’s very intelligent so he will sit and growl quietly at intruders until released (with a release word, which we unfortunately decided, with very little foresight, to be ‘OK’. Note to Obamas: do not use “OK” as your release word for your new furry friend.)

(For instance, a sample conversation in February 2009:

Mr. Obama:  “Little, lay down.”  (which means, “lay down and stay there” – we don’t use “stay” because otherwise what is he supposed to do?  right?  ok.)

Mr. Obama:  “So, Mr. Bush, it is interesting that you came back to see us so soon after you’ve moved out!  You really made a big mess of this country, and we are so glad that you’re far, far, far away!”

Mr. Bush:  “Oh, really?  Well,  Jed is planning to run in 2012…just to keep it all in the family, ya know?”

Mr. Obama:  “OK…well…”

(And Mr. Bush is a goner.)

(I know that was a stupid example, but do you know how hard it was to come up with something there?  It took forever!)


(Little demonstrating restraint.)

DB and I cackled at the thought of Obama meeting Putin with the Presidential Little next to him, growling away. We don’t think it would do wonders for our country’s international diplomacy efforts, although we do think that it would make the transition a little bit more seamless – Little could keep up the “if you’re not on my side, I’ll kill you” aspect of President Bush’s apparent foreign policy approach.

Little is an outdoor enthusiast and loves, loves, loves, loves, romping with children.



Oh, and pregnancy. He really loves pregnancy. It’s a little weird, so our suggestion is just to smile and nod. I don’t know if all Giant Schnauzers are like that, but man, he does love those pregnancy pheromones.

He is also very helpful around the house. He’s a great homework helper (sort of):


And if you have to fill in some holes in your cabinets because you have a mouse, well, he’s eager to help out with that, too.


(Note to GS owners: Yes, bad grooming on the tail. We really need to take care of that.)

And this I know is almost universal for his breed: he is a total food…well, he’ll do ANYTHING for food. He especially loves drive-throughs:


And he is very, very, very cute.


(OK, yes, I have picture-taking issues. I accidentally cut off his bottom face. Don’t hold it against him! Apparently we have a death of good pictures from when he is groomed.)

Little for First Dog!

In bed this morning, the cat was by my head and Little was by my side, sleeping.  Little does this thing where he likes to curl up in our legs and rest his head on our butts like a pillow – it’s cute.

Anyway, Little stretched up and rested his head on…the cat’s ass.

And the cat purred.

Things I never would have thought possible…