07 August 2008

Spring? Cleaning

I've been struck by the cleaning bug. I think it might be a tad bit late for actual spring cleaning, but hey, at least it is happening! Having clean counters and a gleaming sink makes me feel so good, right down to my toes.

Now, if someone could come up with a good solution to crayon bits that have been ground into the hardwood. :\ I suspect that I am going to have to get a bit of metal (flat-head screwdriver, chisel, something to that effect) and scoot around the floors on my butt, picking at each bit. What a pain. I'm not sure sure how the crayon pieces have become one with the ground. I do know that the ones by the computer desks have been accidently rolled over with the chairs, but the bits in the living room? No clue. And I'm going to have to replenish my stock of Magic Erasers to remove the giant circles drawn on the walls.

The dogs are not a fan of cleaning. This usually means lots of vacuuming, which only really bothers the whippets. Athena usually sits on the bed upstairs, shaking and whining. Wallace follows me around, then retreats upstairs to bark a bit. Silly dogs. Plus it means the possibility of a bath, depending on if the dog towels are clean. And no one likes a bath!

I secretly suspect this cleaning fever has been triggered by the fact that my mom is coming to visit next month. basically, this means I will get my house spotless within the next week or two, only to have it trashed again by the time she actually gets here. :D Not that she really cares either way.

On a side note, it appears a snake has moved into the bush in our front yard. Just a plain ol' garter snake. He's dark green, with yellow racing stripes and I think one orange stripe going down his top. Wallace likes to sniff him out, and then his best pointer impersonation, baying an awful lot like a beagle. The snake just recently shed his skin, and left it on the front step as a present. Ooooh boy did that freak Wallace out! I've got some pictures that I'll have to upload. It's too funny.

Now, as a dedicated sighthound owner, I always have my hounds leashed or under control in some fashion other than voice. But somehow Wallace isn't like Athena or Achilles. I can take him around the backyard and into the front without being on the tie-out or leashed. This makes me so giddy. He dislikes being out in the fenced in yard with the other dogs because the play among three dogs is just a bit too rough (plus he prefers being wherever I am). So we do a little tour of our yard, with frequent recalls to remind him of his obedience. We chase each other, do butt-tuck zoomies about the yard... We've even had some serious distractions out there. One was our neighbor and her little white dog. He ran over, I called, he returned. The second was much bigger. A dakrat. By a dakrat hole. Where lots of other dakrats live. He saw the dakrat dash, his ears perked right up, and before he could take off, I got his attention and he settled down. Needless to say, we had a good romp about the backyard in victory. I am very proud of him. And since he is a much more outgoing dog, I am thinking that when we have disposable income again (ha, with the gas prices and food prices?) I would like to enroll him in obedience class. I could see him doing much better than Athena, because it won't be such a fight dealing with just being in the room. Poor Athena, she just despised going to the class.

And on a less interesting side note... I seem to be having a problem with my vets office. They have been acting very cold and snooty the past few times I have been in. I need to take Wallace in to get his sutures out (had a neutering and they had to go in to retrieve his retained testicle), and I am so not looking forward to dealing with them. Which is SUCH a shame because I have always enjoyed going in there. I don't really know what's up, but it's frustrating.


26 July 2008

The Catch Up

This is likely to be a long post, so I'm warning you now to get a drink, go to the bathroom, maybe grab a snack... :D

I am in love with my son. I always thought women who said the phrase "in love" in relation to their children were weird. Being "in love" is something else. But it's not. I realize this now. Lochlan and I, we know each other. We can sit together, his little legs on my belly, cold hands wrapped around my fingers, and just gaze into each other's eyes. Our souls touch. They feed each other. I came up with an idea of what it's like tonight. I feel like our souls are magnetic. When I hold him snuggled up tight, it feels like absolutely nothing could take him from me, the closer we are the tighter they hold on. I am thoroughly enjoying his every moment of life. He is so happy and content. First two teeth slowly emerging from his gums. Crawls like a mad man. And he is already cruising around on the edge of furniture. Every now and then you'll glance at him, and he'll just be standing there, not holding onto anything. His whole face lights up in this heart melting grin. You can feel his thoughts, "Look at me!!! I am doing it!!!" I love it.

He still sleeps in our bed, along with one, two, three, four dogs... ! Caayn is working on me to get him in his crib. (It is pretty difficult to be intimate with that many bodies on the bed...) I don't even know how to start. Lochlan screams like a banshee when he is put in there. And I don't blame him! It's like a jail cell. Wooden bars. Plain walls. No momma to reach out and touch for comfort. At the same time, I do so love waking up to his sweet little face. He is always happy to wake up, full of smiles and giggles, and silly floppiness. It's the very best part of the day.

Oh, did I say four dogs? We have an addition to our home... Shannon Down The Big Surprise. His call name is Wallace (we were going to change it to Apollo, so he'd fit in with our mythological A theme, but he is just a Wallace... so Apollo is his middle name). He is a red and white whippet, just over a year old. His daddy is one of my favorite whippets, a -gorgeous- red boy from Sweden. Wallace has some good bloodlines, and whenever we get out of North Dakota, I am hoping to get him out on the field to race. He just got neutered today, the poor guy. Only one of his testicles descended, so he got both a neuter and a spay, lol. I'll get pictures of him soon.

I've been very sucked into World of Warcraft lately. Since Caayn and I don't really get out too much, it is a good way for the two of us to do something we both like together. And it helps us save money. For $30 a month, we get two accounts, and it keeps us busy. So instead of going downtown (which is about an 1/8 of a tank), spending money at the mall, probably getting food while we're there, and then driving home again, we stay on base. We play outside with the dogs and the boys. We have a good homecooked meal. And we stay far more entertained with the game then with whatever we might have spent money on downtown. (Our budget is pretty tight right now.) But all that aside... I almost have a character who hit level cap. The game currently allows characters to reach the level of 70, at which point you are in "end game" stuff... it doesn't technically have an end though, since they continue to release content in patches. There is also going to be a second expansion coming out soon, raising the level cap to 80 and releasing new zones to play in, etc. So that's pretty exciting. However, my character is a hunter... which is one of the most over-played classes ever! I've sort of halted questing with her and moved onto my mage, who is in her mid 40s right now. The hunter is now my helper character. She runs my friends through lower level dungeons and helps out that way, which is pretty fun.

My 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up. I think it might be next week. It's very amazing to me that here we are, 5 years down the road. Still happy. Still very much in love. I have got to be the luckiest woman alive. :)

The biggest accomplishment so far this year is.... Sully!! Sully is fully potty trained now. YAHOOOOO!!! I just stopped putting a diaper on him. And since he knew peeing on the floor was unacceptable, he just started going on the toilet. Same with pooping. No struggle. He has had 2 accidents in the past month. Both were from him throwing a fit before bedtime and refusing to pee before being tucked in. Now, to teach him to keep his pants on. :P

Also on the Sully front... His artwork is becoming so much better! I am tickled pink every day by his latest drawings. Today he comes up to me with a piece of paper and says, "Look, it's Mr. Sun!" There was a big sun, with a huge grin and eyes. I love it. He draws houses, all of us, grass, colors... I like when he shows me a huge scribble of one color and says, "I drew blue!" He is so proud. He tucks crayons over his ear.

When we were in Pennsylvania, visiting the in-laws, I got a fairly big tattoo on my back. A big phoenix. I've used the name Phoenix for 7? years now, maybe a bit longer. It started when I was in high school. I had a lot of struggles with depression, and one of the times I was coming out of it, I was surrounded by pictures of the phoenix. Every where I looked. (Even in my math book, which I couldn't believe, because that was just too strange.) Coming out of a bout of depression is like being reborn. It's like rising above this thick cloud that you just can't shake. Above, the sky is clear. No fogginess to muddle your vision. The air feels crisp. And since then, I see the pattern of the phoenix in a lot of my choices in life. I continue to reach new heights, to be reborn in a different way. Every day I am not the person I was the day before. I have grown. And I've noticed an effect it has on me. I am more confidant, more sure of myself. Normally I am pretty shy. You wouldn't believe it for an instant seeing how the words pour out of my fingers, but it is the truth. When I'm around people, you can almost hear my gates clattering shut, my drawbridge coming up. I keep to myself. I'm the scrunched up housewife who scurries about her business as fast as possible to get back to the safety of her home. But now... my shoulders are thrown back, my posture is correct, I feel alert, energized, like I am full in my body. I like it. :)

I've been reading the blogs I used to again... For a long time there I stopped reading. And now I remember why I loved them. Some of these women are so eloquent. And so many of them write exactly what I am thinking, feeling, going through. It feels good to come back to them all.

Thats it for now. I'm all worded out. And instead of feeling empty of words, I just feel satisfied. So many times I catch myself composing blog entries in my head, or my inner monologue speaking like an entry. Maybe if I can get them out sooner, I can be free of these thoughts that fill my brain up with chatter.

14 April 2008

The One Where I Never Stop

I can't sleep, so I figured I'd post.

Caayn and I took the troupe to the dog park today... Everyone except Artemis, who isn't very social and tends to spend her time barking insanely at all dogs and people. Much fun was had by all! We met up with Jimmy and Spartan. I took almost 300 pictures!! Hopefully I can get some photo editing done this week, so I can get around to uploading those and getting them online. Some of them are really good! I managed to snap one of Athena with all for paws off the ground.

Caayn worked 12 hour shifts all of last week and this coming week he'll be working from 3pm to 9pm. He's doing a training class for tow vehicles (he's done it before but they all got decertified not too long ago). I think I'll like this shift. We can sleep in, as much as Sully will let us anyway, and he's not getting off too awfully late. It'll make for strange dinner times though, and probably lead to us staying awake longer than usual.

However, there is hope he'll be getting our fence put in this week, or maybe this weekend. YIPEE! And I should be upgrading my cell phone too. Going to get one of those LG enVs... Those are so neat looking. I like the one Sprint or AT&T (I forget which) has better, but it's not available for Verizon. I've been contemplating switching us to Alltel, but I don't know. I have to go in to the stores and do some talking. We are supposed to be getting a military discount on the bills, but we aren't. So I want to get in and compare plan prices with the military discount factored in (assuming Alltel offers one).

Not too much else going on in the Phoenix-Caayn household. Looking forward to our trip to PA in June. Not looking forward to all the extra miles going on the van, but hey, what can you do? It's really the cheapest way to get anywhere with 2 kids and a dog along for the ride.

I noticed something funny the other day. The more active I am, the more bruises my legs get. And when I say active, I don't necessarily mean physically. Like just spending more time outside, or doing more driving around! Luckily I don't mind; I love bruises.

Ugh! I don't really even have anything to write about, just feel the need to get my fingers on the keys. I've also noticed that I'm feeling more creative lately. I have the urge to draw, which I haven't had in probably over 6 or 7 years. I also feel the need to write.When I was younger, I dreamed of being a writer. I've got tons of notebooks filled with first pages of stories, random plots, etc. I sort of gave up on it, mostly because I have a LOT of trouble breaking 5 pages on a story. (I know, can you believe it? Me, the one who can go on and on for hours!) But even just something simple like blogging scratches that itch. There should be a term for it, like brain overload or something, where there is just literally too many words in your head and if they don't get out somehow you'll go insane!

The wee hours of night like this are my favorite. My house is finally quiet. Caayn is resting peacefully, Lochlan too. Lochlan is getting to the stage where he moves around in his sleep now, so he seems to frequently end up completely sideways in the middle of the bed. I like to just drink him up with my eyes. Memorize everything I can and hope that I'll still remember it all in 20 years. The dogs start dreaming too. Athena's paws twitch and jerk, and she'll utter little yips. I know she is dreaming about the dog park, the hard ground under her feet, wind blowing her ears back. I guess the barking could be her playing with Spartan, or maybe she is just voicing her joy of the day... even though she is very quiet at the dog park. Achilles never seems to sleep. He moves around a lot. Checks up on me. Why are you still awake? You smell okay. Go to sleep! Athena just rolled up onto her back. She doesn't often sleep in the dead cockroach position, but it always amuses me when she does.

Athena is getting new pigment areas. I'd heard that that happens, where there are spots where the pigment will come in or go away at different times of the year. She just developed a small patch on her muzzle, and near her lady bits a few spots have shown up. Her poor little tail! She has stud tail something awful and has like a two inch bald spot on it. It resembles a rat's tail there. (And I know, because I've owned several rats over my history of pet ownership!)

It's almost 2 now. I guess I oughta get off here and try to sleep. Curling up with Lochlan, Achilles behind my knees, sounds pretty nice. Oh, here comes Athena... she really likes to lay on or near Lochlan. Not sure why, but it is incredibly cute.

Is there anything as wonderful as your family? When everything is quiet, I reflect on that a lot. I've got a fantastic husband who couldn't love me more if he tried, I've got two wonderful sons who make me laugh and melt my heart every day, and I've got dogs. I simply can't imagine anything better than this. (Heck, this family of mine makes living in a dreary place like North Dakota just fine.) It's good stuff. I gave up everything I've ever known to come here with the man I love, and you know what? It has been worth every minute of it. Sometimes taking a leap like that has to be done if you want to open new doors. Looking back, I can't imagine what would have happened if I stayed back home. It would have been pretty dull I think. And not nearly as filled with happiness.

10 April 2008

w00t for Good Wi-Fi!

I'm dog-sitting Spartan the Wonder Italian Greyhound. The guys are working 12 hour shifts again and I figured Spartan would enjoy getting to hang out at Camp Phoenix rather than being home alone for a long time. He gets here around 6am ish, and leaves around 7pm.

He is so much fun! He's like renting a puppy, lol. And I really think it's good for everyone involved. Spartan gets to spend his day with other dogs, and going outside, and just hanging out. Athena gets a chance to PLAY, since Achilles prefers sleeping in bed and Artemis is too 'diginified' to play. And when Spartan leaves here, he is completely worn out! Which, I think, means Jimmy gets a chance to relax during his time off at night rather than having to deal with an overly-wound up pup. Plus, he's so darn cute to look at that I like having him around. It's fun watching him tackle the multitudes of dog toys we have around here.

So today I've been waiting him out on the pooping issue. He's not really well house-trained. Italian Greyhounds seem to have an issue with it, and are apparently notorious for being very particular about things. (Like in the middle of our VERY cold winter, he didn't want to go outside, hated getting his little paws wet, etc.) I've just been treating him like you would a puppy. Every couple of hours we make a trip outside, and after he eats we IIgo out. All day he hadn't pooped and I knew he was going to have to... Finally everything in the house was settled enough that I could leave Lochlan inside without him freaking out, and I could wait him out.

I brought along the laptop. Lately I have been SUPER addicted to Questionable Content, a webcomic. It is so funny, the art is really good, and it always seems to strike a chord. (In one of the first strips they are drinking and playing video games, after all.... and thats something that happens around here!) Anyway... Apparently my wireless internet reaches all the way to the neighbor's deck stairs. Which means once Caayn gets the fence in over there, I can sit on the deck and be on the net at the same time! Wheee!!

I've been meaning to post for some time... I hate when you have a blog, and you are really good at updating it, and then one day, you start forgetting. Then before you know it, you are only updating once a month and the post always starts with, "I can't believe I haven't updated in forever!"

Several times I've started a post, so I'm not sure if this will be repeat news... but I called Carol a few days back and talked to her about Cozy, Athena's littermate that I'm secretly (or not so secretly) in love with. I let her know that if she was wanting to sell her, I'd love to bring her home here. However, Carol thinks that she might do well running, so they are going to try her out at the end of the month, when lure coursing and stuff starts. (Up here in the north, you can't do it year round! Too cold!!) So we'll be in touch on the subject. She did warn me that Cozy is really a naughty little whippet. I'm pretty sure a lot of that is not a lot of exercise and not being a real house dog. She had warned me about Athena too, and she is such a sweet dog here. Although from what I saw, Cozy is definitely different than Athena. She's a talker; barks when people come in, and does a lot of the "rah-rah-rah" that some whippets do. (Which I totally LOVE! I'm always trying to get Athena to talk more. She'll do it when me and Achilles start singing, or when she is playing with Spartan, but not really otherwise.)

Anyway, I am really excited about that. I was so nervous to call and ask her about the whole thing... I mean, how do you call someone up and ask if they'd sell you one of their dogs? Especially when you aren't really sure if the dog is up for sale or whatnot. I'm pretty sure Carol would sell the rest of the litter, if the right homes came along, but I don't think she is actively seeking homes out. I wish I was in a different situation, because I would love to take Athena's brother too. He is so full of energy and such a happy boy. He deserves to be in someone's home, being totally loved on and spoiled rotten. Caayn hates when I say this,k because he thinks that I might not stop at Cozy and will just want to keep adding more whippets to the family, lol.

Nope! If and when we get a third whippet, it will be one from Athena, if and when we decide if she is going to have a litter. (And even then it won't be for quite awhile. She's just over a year old and hasn't matured yet, and I don't want to even THINK of the responsibilities whippet babies will mean until we are in a situation where we can handle it. Like, in our own house.... kids a bit older than 3 and under 1.... Lol.)