Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Feeling Lucky Today!!

(Mom, don't start signing. Oh never mind, go ahead!)

When ever I think about buying a house (this happens often) and I start looking around and I discover that there is nothing affordable where I want to live (this happens just as often) I buy a lottery ticket. I figure that is going to be the only way I'll ever afford to buy in California. I usually buy from the same liquor store. The dogs and I take a walk and they wait outside (not tied up but on a nice solid down-stay) while I go inside. Then a few days later we'll walk back and we repeat the process, this time with me using the handy, "Did you win?" machine to see if I've won. Sadly, it always tells me, "Sorry, not a winner."

The machine is right next to the clerk. It is almost always the same guy and he makes a comment about how I did not win. It makes me feel, like, well, a looser. It also makes me feel foolish. It makes me feel as if it is ok to buy a lottery ticket, expecting to win (because if you really, truly expected to loose you wouldn't waste your money) but if you have the nerve to check that ticket, you must be delusional because everyone knows that you won't REALLY win.

After I'm told I'm a looser I don't know what to do with the ticket. Should I rip it up and throw it on the ground like my esteemed mother taught me to do at the horse races? The clerk might now like that. Should I meekly put it in the garbage can? Should I burn it while muttering spells over it to help me win next time? Maybe I should feed it to my dog?

I tried that once. But the clerk came to stand outside for some fresh air and caught me playing tug-o-war with my rather large dog and a tiny piece of paper and probably thought up some extra adjectives in addition to looser. When I saw him watching I meekly threw what was left of the ticket away and made my escape. Maybe I'll try the voodoo burning next time.

So if the clerk keeps calling me a looser (or is it the machine?) why do I feel lucky? Well, I couldn't take being a looser at the same store and I just hadn't made it back to check my ticket anyways. It had been a few weeks so when I stopped for a refreshing fountain beverage (it turned out to be a little tasteless) at a gas station I hadn't been to before, I checked my ticket there. I was a $1 winner!!!!!! I applied it to a new ticket. The drawing is on Wednesday, so if I win, I will share the winnings with anyone in my family who has a birthday on that day.

Winning one dollar was much luckier than the lady who was running around moaning that she had lost her keys. She was digging through a display full of ice and sodas because she thought they might have fallen in there because she put her hand in there. Hmmm... Did she put her hand with her keys in there? Or just her hand? She didn't know and I didn't either. I offered her a phone but she declined so I left. Not much I could do to help her.

In addition to winning one dollar, and not loosing my keys in tub of ice at a random gas station, I also feel lucky today because one of my co-workers returned from a week long TDY to state headquarters with the welcome news that our jobs are secure! We are not going to be fired, laid off, let go, given the boot, cast off or culled out in any way. This week. Or next week. As far as state HQ is concerned the State Active Duty program is not changing in the foreseeable future.

With that welcome news, maybe I'll go back to house hunting. I'd better buy a lotto ticket.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dirty Dogs, Clean Dogs

We took a short walk around a friend's orchard, and there was water in a drainage ditch. Some parts was deep enough to swim (but only around it little circles.) The dogs came back smelling like a sewer. Pie didn't look bad because of her short hair and dark legs, but Fancy was a mess.

Even covered in muck she is cute! I don't know why the spot around her nose stayed clean.
Wet dog! During...
After! No soap used, just the hose.
Pie Before.
Pie After. She looks the same, just wetter.

Today I decided it was time for Fancy's summer hair cut. It came out better than I expected. I shaved her with no blade, then scissored her face and ears and left her tail alone.
She is such an easy dog to groom. No fidgeting, no whining, no running off, no sitting down, no biting, and no movements like she is going to bite then decides not to.

Here is the hair that hasn't blown away. How do you like my grooming table?

Now Fancy is ready for the beach and she won't bring half the sand home with her. And she is ready for the lake at Big Bear, and she won't take all day to dry.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lazy Monday

Mom, Craig and I were supposed to have a fun day today, but sadly Dad got sick and Mom had to stay home to nurse him back to health. I hope he feels better soon. Upon further reflection, I remembered last time mom (and dad and Craig) were supposed to come visit me there was a horrible truck crash on the freeway and they couldn't make it out then either. So I suppose Dad being sick isn't the worst thing that could happen. Mom and I are having trouble finding a good day to reschedule our fun.

Instead of a fun day of fun, I spent the day being lazy. I read some of my book (Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange,) brushed Blossom, and did some agility in the backyard. I said I would try agility with Blossom if he "perks up" and he has, so I've been doing little things with him here and there. This is the first time I've set up with the jumps and tunnel and weaves. He has picked up a faster pace on other days, but today seemed to be a trotting day. I attempted to videotape our endeavours. It is hard to film and run a dog who doesn't really have a clue about what is going on. Then the gardeners came and I had to end our session.

Here is a link to the video.

And this is just so cute I had to post it also!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Killer Monster Mutant Carniverous Creepy Bugs

They come out when it is warm at night. I've never seen them before this season. They are huge and gross beetle things that fly. They buzz around and I can hear them chewing on things and falling out of trees and flying into things. They try to fly into me. Then they cluster on the screen door and I can't get inside. One came in the house last time it was warm and they are too big to squish so I had to scoop it up and it made horrible noises at me. The dogs and I want to go for a walk, but what if they fly at my head and I'm forced to run screaming and Blossom can't keep up? I know it is stupid to be afraid and so grossed out I can't go outside because of something that is so much smaller than me and probably harmless but I can't help it. Some people have called them June Bugs but they are not that small and they are not that color. Their bodies are about the size of a quarter (at least.) Maybe I can buy a mosquito net hat and then at least I don't have to worry about them flying into my head.

I suppose I will have to take a chance because the dogs want a walk. This time I will remember to leave the porch light off so they do not cluster on the door and keep me out of my own home. UGH!

Update: I was unable to take the walk but I had to go into town to get something to eat and there were no bugs in town. I wonder if they live in the trees? Even though was super careful. one made it into the house. But it wasn't one of the huge beetles. It was a spider/ beetle combo, that flies. It appears to be a beetle, about the size and color of a normal June Bug, but it has huge spider front legs. I squished it with the fly swatter and it left a gigantic splat mark on my wall. I may have to move into town. I won't ever be able to open my door at night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fancy Clone

Head on over to to see yet another Fancy clone. (I hope it isn't against blogging rules to post links to stranger's blogs...) You will have to scroll down to see Muppet, which is a very good name.

Here is a picture of Fancy looking like Muppet (except not so muddy.)

And some other random pictures from that day. It was close to two years ago...

I noticed my reflection in Pie's eye after taking the picture. Those are flecks of sand on her face.

Pie says the beach is the perfect spot to run and run and run and leave Pie Prints.

Pie gets the ball. Again.

And again. And Fancy has something to say about it.

This picture is my desktop background.

On a clear day such as this was you can see the Channel Islands. Bloom never really cared for the beach. He only went a few times. When I go next time I will take Blossom and see how he likes it. He put his feet in the river this past weekend, so maybe he will enjoy it.

Let There Be Light!

Maybe God just stretched out his hand, but I drove to Target and spent money. Here are the lamps I bought that I blogged about earlier. Thrillsville, I know.

For your consideration: Lamp Number One:
Lamp Number Two:

And Lamp Number Three:

And this is the reject lamp that couldn't light its way out of a paper bag. Banished to the computer room:

And a gratuitous picture of Blossom napping on MY bed using MY pillow. I suppose I can't be too upset since I put him there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No, Thank You.

The other girl at work was really pressuring me to sign the letter requesting early involuntary separation and therefore $. She says she spoke with someone at State who said by signing you were protecting yourself in case you got the boot. It wasn't saying you wanted the boot. Also, if you didn't sign and you got the boot, you got nothing.

But I read it again, using my critical reading skills from my English degree and if the person she spoke to was correct, then who ever wrote the letter did a very poor job of conveying those ideas. The part you signed said "By signing this I want the boot and I want the money." Ok, maybe I shouldn't have put it in quotes, but I'm not going to type out the whole thing. Trust me that it said, "Please fire me."

I did not sign and if I do get involuntarily separated and do not get the money, that will just be extra incentive to leave California in a huff. If I got the money, I might be tempted to stay and try to eek out a living and never be able to afford a house.


In other news, the Ventura County Wild Life ReHabilitator People (not their official name) called and told me a vet I could take the bird to in Thousand Oaks. The vet would fix it up and then they would come get it. When I dropped him off, the vet tech said his leg was broken, and they should be able to help him.


I was completely fed up with how dark my house is so I went to Target and bought three new floor lamps. Two are floor lamps with a reading light and one is three lights on a pole that can be positioned to face different ways. It is brighter, and can no longer be called dark, but I have discovered the best way to light a room is definitely from the top. Anything else leaves dark corners and gives an uneven distribution of light.


The pet psychic said Blossom's previous owners may have lived in an assisted living type of place or maybe an Active Seniors home. She said they were an old couple and the man had lost the use of one side of his body. They were walking and he fell and Blossom ran off, just to be running, then he got lost. He doesn't know why his family never came to the shelter for him but he misses them very much. I wanted to know why he won't eat and apparently my food doesn't smell good. He is used to small pieces of meat cut up and maybe some mashed potatoes. His old lady used to take him to something that appeared to be Bingo Night. Blossom says he is afraid Pie will sit on him. I found that to be a likely occurrence, so I couldn't offer any assurance to that. Blossom says Pie jumps around and bites the air. If Blossom (and the pet psychic) are to be trusted, Blossom doesn't have anything physically hurting him, so therefore he is just bad not to eat my food that doesn't smell good. That last part was my interpretation.

For those who think I am foolish to pay a pet psychic, I say this in my defense: It was not very expensive and don't forget that St. Francis could talk to animals. I'm not saying this lady is a saint or even that I believe the things she told me, but there is a precedence out there.

PS- Blossom says he likes the way "Blossom" sounds - so there to those who say it is a bad name for a boy dog. Although he also says he forgets it is his name sometimes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Civil Engineering, This is Um... ah..."

This weekend at drill I was promoted to E-5, Staff Sergeant. The group commander and Command Chief Master Sergeant came (at the request of my supervisor) to "tack me on."

Now I just have to remember to answer the phone, "Sergeant Marla" instead of "Airman."

One of the best parts is the powers that be made the promotion retroactive, since before our little deployment, so I should be getting some back pay.

I am holding my Certificate of Induction into the Noncommissioned Officer ranks in this picture. From left to right- Mission Support Group Commander, Me, my First Sergeant, and the Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant, with our Chief Master Sergeant in the back ground.

The Certificate.

My certificate for finishing the Airman Leadership School via Correspondence.

This card was waiting for me after the promotion. It is from a Chief from another squadron. I don't know him, but apparently I have a reputation to uphold.
Afterwards, the entire wing turned out for a promotion party for me.

Actually, this was our wing celebration for working hard and doing well at the ORI (Operational Readiness Inspection.) Look, parents, I have a fruit AND a vegetable! After eating, I watched a horse shoes game (best of three) and a softball game.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blossom Update

Blossom had about half of his teeth removed on Friday. Many of the removed teeth were already loose. The remaining teeth were cleaned very nicely and are now pretty! The upper and lower canines were not removed. These teeth look extra big, but I thought that was because I was used to Bloom's small, worn down teeth, and these full teeth just looked large by comparison. However, the vet said otherwise and said they are extra big because the gums have receded so far that a lot of the roots are showing. Someone called them sabre tooth teeth.

I have to administer pain medication and an anti-biotic and he will not take it in food or a pill-pocket and I have trouble opening his mouth because I can't come in through the side since his gums are so sore. So I bought a "pill popper" also called a medication dispenser. It is a long tube thingy that you put the pill in then put it in the animals mouth and push the plunger and the meds pop out. It is useful because you can put it way down their throats so they can't push the pill back out. Which is good since Blossom is now missing all his side teeth. Even though I held his mouth closed, he just pushed the pill out the gaps in the side. Little sinker. The pill popper has made it a little easier.

Since Blossom wasn't eating the vet is having me give him fluids at home. But I realized I was squeamish about pushing a needle all the way through his skin into the place between his skin and muscles. Plus, I can't hold him and poke him. Luckily Kate is helping me. She is doing the poking and I am doing the holding. He shouts just like Bloom. It really does sound like a shout more than anything. "Arrr, aaar, AARGH!" The fluids give him a big hunch back that quickly falls off to one side of his shoulders or the other. The fluids also make him have to go "tinkle" quite a bit. Apparently he couldn't make it all the way through the day and his crate got quite wet. The vet is having him get 200 cc's a day, so I suppose it is understandable he can't hold that much all day while I am at work. Maybe the diapers need to make a comeback. I have all these random hooks screwed in the beams in the ceiling, so I made use of one. Good thing the cord (if that is the proper term) is so long.

Blossom is eating better than before, but still not good enough. It seems he is not a morning dog and does not want to eat at all in the morning. I feed him as much as he'll eat when I come home from work, and again at night when I feed the other two. Since he gets fed more often, and also all kinds of different tasty wet food, I'm sure Pie and Fancy are sad they are left out of the feeding feasts. Especially since I hand feed him to encourage him to eat it really makes it seem as if I am feeding him treat after treat while they get nothing. Very sad.

I think his eating habits will continue to improve as his mouth gets less and less sore. At least I really hope so. He was frisky (for him) this afternoon. I tried to walk him around the block last night but it seemed to be too far. I'm not sure how he made it all the way to Janell's house and back last weekend.

He seems to like laying under the computer while I am typing, which has made Fancy mopey, because that is HER spot. The other day he joined her when she was already under there and she wasn't thrilled. Today he made it under there first, and now she is laying close the the desk, but not under it.

Various Unspecific Updates

Update 1- I was on call for jury duty last week- the same week as my dad but in a different county. I was in group 65 and on Friday they made it up to group 63, so I was not called and my service is complete for the next year.

Update 2- Regards the letter from last week. Not everybody at work got one. So that was cause for concern. Then we (the other person who got the same letter and I) realized the people who did not get the letter are not applicable to the contents of the letter. Basically, the letter said the state may get rid of some State Active Duty positions, and if that happens and you are involuntarily separated, AND if you have more than 6 years service in SAD, you are eligible for some involuntary separation pay. The people who did not get the letter do not have more than 6 years. Therefore, everyone who the letter pertained to did receive the letter, so I am not worrying about it (too much. Even though the State did just request our payroll documents to see how much they are spending on us.) My boss said he will fight very hard to make sure none of our positions get eliminated and I appreciate that very much. But I'm not sure that he has too much say in the matter.

Update 3- Blossom update. See the following post.

Update 4- Fancy had another foxtail. This one was in her ear. After a walk she kept shaking her head. I looked and looked but couldn't see anything. I flushed her ears out. But she still shook her head randomly. A few days later Blossom was going to go to the vet's for his first appointment, so I took her too. By this time she had given up the head shaking but as discussed earlier, I know how evil foxtails are, and I wasn't taking any chances. The vet used her ear scope and spotted what was either hairs or the end of a foxtail and it turned out to be a foxtail. As I learned from James Herriot books, it is much better to call the vet early and spend a little money on an easy fix, rather than waiting until it gets so bad that you have to pay the vet lots of money, and the animal may end up dying anyway. Thank you Mr. Herriot. Fancy thanks you also.


Actually, I decided Kate is right and it is a crow, so the obvious reference is now just making me appear foolish.

This bird was flopping around in the parking lot when I went into church, and he was still there when I came out. His wing and leg on the same side seem to be injured. I waited for the other cars to leave, then I nabbed him, using my BDU top. While I was stalking him, some other crows (these might have been actual ravens) showed up and began to caw loudly at me and one or two even dive bombed me. I beat a graceful retreat to decide if 1) If getting my eye poked out was worth it and 2) With friends like these, did he even need my help?

I came to the conclusion that if a raccoon happened upon him, his friends wouldn't be help enough, and while a poked out eye was too high of a price to pay for helping injured wildlife, I didn't actually believe that would happen. And it didn't.

I followed him around for a while trying to get a good throw of the BDU top. I took aim and let fly and missed completely, and not even because he moved. Nope. Apparently he had given up and was just laying there. So I retrieved my top from right next to him and placed it over him and picked him up and put him in a dog crate in my car. I called the local wildlife rehabilitateor people and are waiting for them to call me back so I can hand him over. He is hanging out in the car in the crate while we wait.

I hope they call soon and that they can and will help him.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Raise Your Hand...

...if you have ever gotten GOOD news through a certified letter. Anyone? Is your hand up, or are you just scratching your nose?

When I saw I had to go pick up a certified letter at the post office I knew it wasn't good. The day was already not the best because I had just picked up Bloomie's ashes (they put him in a can) and offered Blossom all kinds of tasty delectable and he only ate two bites. So I was sure a certified letter was bad news. Especially since my amazing powers of observation and reasoning makes it appear I am clairvoyant.

I knew it was going to be from the State (who I work for, just in case you are not a friend or family member and stumbled upon this blog.) Do you remember the scene in The Fifth Element where Corban (Bruce Willis) is buying food or something from the Chinese guy in the flying junk (is that actually how it is spelled?) and the Chinese guy says "You have a letter." and I think they have a discussion about it being bad or good news and the Chinese guy ends up opening it and reading out loud in a really happy voice, "You are fired!" Do you remember that scene? It kept playing over and over in my head as I drove to the post office. I received the letter and saw it was addressed to SrA instead of Ms. so I knew my suspicions were correct. I'm not fired, but it was the letter that was being passed around at work (as I suspected) telling us some State employees will be involuntarily separated due to the budget crisis. I was told not to worry unless I got the letter. So should I be worried now? I'll wait until tomorrow. If I'm the only person in my department to get the letter, THEN I'll be worried. Until then, I have to spend my time worrying about Blossom not eating, and about Canned Bloom.

I Drew Him With a Smile

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome, Blossom

The very sad news is Bloomie passed away on the Friday before Memorial Day. I am not ready to write about him yet. It goes without saying that I miss him. Not only do I miss him personally, I also just miss having an old dog. Bloom was very difficult in many ways recently due to his old age, but there is just something so special about a sweet, old dog.

It had only been a few days that he was gone, but I was already feeling the pull, looking at shelter websites. Previously, I had been considering buying a puppy bred for competitions, but after Bloom was gone, all I wanted was an old dog. I was on a website that lists all the government run shelters in this area. I think there are around 117 of them. Too many dogs to count. On this website you can search dogs by breed, but you are at the mercy of someone else to correctly identify your breed. So it is a good idea to search breeds similar to the one you want. For example, I found Pie (a Belgian Malinois) under German Shepherd.

I wasn't sure I was going to adopt a dog, but I had vague notions of perhaps fostering one for my friend who runs a rescue. She specializes in dogs with medical needs (when they are done with the dogs, they no longer have medical needs, they are adopted out as healthy), but an older dog might also be acceptable, since they too are hard to find homes for.

So without a clear purpose, but motivated by missing my Bloom I searched the website. Something, and I have no idea what, caused me to search under standard poodle. I know I didn't want to foster or adopt a standard poodle because they can be HUGE! Taller than Pie. But I looked there anyway and this is what I saw.

If you did not know Bloom, the resemblance is striking. Bloom was also listed as a 10 year old when I adopted him. As soon as I saw the picture and the dog's age, I knew this was MY dog. Not to foster, but to keep. I knew I would name him Blossom.

This was last Wednesday and I was at work. I called the shelter, but I only got ringing. I hung up and called back later. Again, only ringing. Same thing later. This time I waited the ringing out until the system hung up on me. I repeated this two more times. I wanted to call the shelter for more information because they can usually tell you over the phone if the dog is aggressive, and any more information they have on the dog. Since this was the North Central Los Angeles shelter, I wanted to be sure the dog was as nice as I thought he was before I drove down there. Finally, at about one o'clock I got through to a person.

This person was a clerk, and had never interacted with the dog, but she said he was a stray but he had a microchip and his family had not come for him. She told me he was 15 pounds, confirming that he was not a standard poodle. I asked if there was any other information available and she said there was a note... approved for euthanasia, as of the day before. She then transferred me to someone else.

This person was a kennel worker and told me he was a very nice dog and that she liked him a lot, but he had been there for a month and as of yesterday, could be killed at any time. Apparently this literally meant any second because when I asked what time they did the euthanasia, she told me, "It depends how busy they are back there." I told her I was coming for him but it would take me about two hours, and was there anything she could do to make sure he wasn't killed while I was driving? She said there was nothing she could do.

As soon as I got off the phone, I was informed a letter my boss was waiting for was ready for pick up and I had to go to another building and get it and scan it and email it to his personal email address. Of course the scanner is horribly slow! Then I made my escape from work, but I had to buy gas since I would not have made it the 60 miles to the shelter, and there are no gas stations on the way to the freeway. Therefore I had to go out of the way, adding to the time it would take to get there. Finally I was on my way. Would I get there in time? Would I have to push my way to the front of the line?

I arrived at the shelter and ran inside, only to find no one there wanting to adopt animals. Very sad. But that meant I was first in line. I presented my print out of Blossom to the clerk and said, "I want this dog." They brought him out for my inspection and after I confirmed I wanted him, I filled out the paperwork and he was mine! The clerk confirmed he was approved for euthanasia the day before. She was very happy for him, even more so when she saw that he was 10 years old.

He was much smaller than I expected, and very skinny. He does look a lot like Bloom, and like Bloom, is very sweet. He lays on the couch next to me just like Bloom would before he no longer wanted to. (Fancy won't lay next to me, preferring to curl up in a little ball a foot or so away from me.) Blossom walks nicely on the leash, is quiet in the crate, rides well in the car, appears to be housebroken (all my other dogs from the shelter had to be trained!) gets along (ignores) the other dogs, and likes me enough to seek me out in the house and hang out with me. He isn't trained in formal things it appears, and does not play with toys, and at this time is not particularity food motivated, although the hot dogs did receive approval.

We just had his vet exam and the vet declared his teeth the worst she has ever seen. They are extremely nasty, and his breath is so bad you can smell it in the car. At least one tooth is loose. Most likely he will be having surgery to remove the teeth. I don't know if it will be most or all of them, or just the worst ones.

Since I've had him, Blossom has been eating less and less each meal, which is unsatisfactory since I want/ need to fatten him up. I'm even feeding him CANNED dog food. No dog of mine has ever had it so good. But last night and this morning, he didn't eat anything, even after I put chicken broth on it. Is he sick? Is he picky? The vet took blood and urine but at this time had no answers. However, when she offered him Hills Science Diet for Dogs and Cats Who Will Be in Serious Trouble If They Refuse THIS Food, he scarfed it down. OK- that wasn't the exact name of the food, but it is for animals who are convalescing and won't eat anything else. Would it gross you out too much if I tell you I sniffed the food and it actually smelled appealing to me? No, I did not eat it, that would have been gross, but I think it smelled like one of the MREs I've eaten. So I bought 14 of the cans to start with and even though it says you should not feed this food continuously, the vet said we just need to get him to eat for now, and we'll worry about what he is eating later. I hope he continues to eat this food, because I was about to go buy some ground beef, and that would have been a big step since I've never even purchased any for myself.

In conclusion (didn't any of my English teachers tell me not to write 'in conclusion?') I am very happy I happened upon Blossom. I can't have my Bloom back, but until we meet again, Blossom can attempt to fill his shoes. We both benefit from the relationship. Now, all he has to do it eat his food like a good boy, and I can stop worrying about another old dog passing away. That would be very bad.

Hanging out with Craig. He (Blossom) has since been to the groomer and his fur is a little less curly, but not much. As you can see, he is much more grey than he looked in the shelter picture.


On a different dog note, Pie just wandered out of the room and seconds later I heard whining and scratching sounds, and I had to go rescue her from the dog-swallowing bathroom.