28 February 2008

not my giveaway

Since I can only dream of doing giveaways here, I'll point you to someone else who is. Modmom is having some AMAZING giveaways, including the double stroller of my dreams.  Go check her out!


Tomorrow is the Blog365 day of rest. There had to be one this year, or it would have to be called Blog366.

Tomorrow is also the day I start 52 nights unplugged. From 5pm Fridays until I get up Saturday morning, there will be no screens. No iPhone, except as a phone and only if I get an incoming call. No TV. No MacBook. NO EMAIL!!! I am starting to get a little anxious just thinking about it, but I know it is well past time. Hello. My name is Kim and I'm addicted to all things internet. After Family Fun night festivities at Oliver's school, I am going to try clearing out all the catalogs and magazines from my kitchen and bedroom, and maybe read a book. I also plan to go to bed early. I have been fighting nature too long. I am a morning person. There, I said it. I need to be getting up before everyone else to get things done. And that means going to bed earlier. Yet another really good reason we need a dvr. CD? Are you listening?

And while we're on the topic of blog administrivia, this blog will be moving to WordPress in the near future. When it does, I will also launch the second blog that's been percolating in my head for, well, way too long. It's all in my head. Really. But now it's time to get it out of my head and make room for something else, before my brain explodes.

27 February 2008

like getting a gold star on my forehead

Recently I was asked by a friend if I would be willing to sell her some breastmilk. Holy moly, was that a surprise. As a BFAR mom, it's a bit of a miracle that I have the means to deliver milk at all, let alone be considered for donor duty. I had over 2 pounds of boob removed in 2001, when babies were not even a twinkle in my eye. Truth be told, the idea of breastfeeding grossed me out back then so when the surgeon said breastfeeding would not be possible during his run-down of the risks/problems/trouble associated with the surgery I didn't even blink.

So here we are, six and a half years after surgery, with 2 babies and 22 months of breastfeeding under my bra, and I get asked if I want to sell some milk. She's going out of town for a couple of days and wasn't sure she had enough of a stash to last. I've said before, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, that I would nurse a baby that wasn't mine in a disaster situation. Wouldn't think twice about it, except to hope my body would respond. So really, this was a no-brainer. Of course. I've got some in the freezer and can pump some fresh, should she want some with antibodies for this plague we have. A little over a week from now I am going to be away for the better part of a day so I was thinking of getting the pump out of the closet anyway. One last hurrah for me and pump-in-style, my talking pump. (A topic for a whole other post, I suppose. Mine has been known to say "Pizza!")

Once I got over the initial stunned, elated, worried, thrilled feeling, I realized it was the "sell" part that was troublesome. I'd give it away, no problem, but taking money makes it just a tiny bit creepy, even if the going rate really is $4 an ounce(!!!), as she said. The only thing I'd take in return is a playdate for my son at her house, while I sit someplace quiet with a very large beverage! Or maybe take a nap.

Even if her husband doesn't end up calling me for milk, my friend will never know how much I appreciate being considered. I've done a lousy job of expressing myself, as usual, but really, this is huge for me. In those difficult early months of nursing Oliver, I never would have believed anyone would be asking me for milk for their child. But here we are.

Wednesday Bacon

Time for a new feature here at TDaaB, Wednesday Bacon. I am a bit of a bacon fiend. I could go vegetarian pretty easily if not for bacon. It's the one thing I would miss every.single.day. No, I don't eat bacon every day, but I do think about it.

So from now on, the most, um, interesting bacon find of the week will be here, on Wednesday Bacon. Our inaugural item is the Bacon Cup, found at Not Martha. As I sopped up the drool that was landing on my laptop, all I could say is, "Wow." Just as impressive as the finished product is that Not Martha shares all the steps along the way to constructing this little bit of bacon bliss.

I was all ready to add these to the birthday party brunch menu when I read the part about filling her house with smoke. But hey, if you're invited and want to make 'em at your house....

Have to go now. More drool to clean up.

26 February 2008

terrible tuesdays

Tuesdays are starting to be my least favorite day of the week. CD tends to have a late conference call. (His group of co-workers are all 3 hours behind us so it's the middle of the afternoon for them.) Sometimes he comes home first, which means he sees the kids for about 10 minutes before going into his cave for the call. Or he just stays at the office for it, like he did tonight, getting home just as I was putting Eleanor to bed. Either way, my little creatures of habit tend to react poorly to the disruption.

The problem isn't really CD not being home at his usual time. The real issue is that the plague is still with us. Oliver is mostly recovered. Just a lingering runny nose. Eleanor is still grumpy and congested. I thought I was getting better yesterday but woke up in middle of the night feeling horrible, so I finally sucked it up and went to the doc today. We think it's a sinus infection so I got antibiotics (that I usually avoid like, um, the plague). Trouble is, after a double dose this morning, I have been feeling steadily worse all day. 

Tomorrow is another day I suppose. All the rain and snow that fell should completely ice over. Should be lovely.

25 February 2008

don't talk back to Darth Vader

Clearly we have been depriving Oliver of his proper education by not letting him watch Star Wars, preferring Shaun the Sheep instead. This young padawan's parents are doing much better.

Courtesy of so many blogs I lost count.

power to the IT guy

After reading on Frugal Duchess (who makes me want to stick pins in my eyes much of the time but has enough useful information to make me keep reading) that her power company gives rebates for the purchase of energy efficient AC units, something we are shopping for, I decided to give my power company a shot. I found yet another entity that cannot handle the four character extension to my email address. You have .com, I have .name. It's like Y2K all over again. Many systems are not set up to accommodate four characters after the last dot in an email address.  

Yes, I have a gmail account, and a .mac account, but I use them for specific things. I don't usually give them out when someone asks for my email address.

As I usually do, I filled out their customer service form, which also won't take the email address but thankfully does not make it a required field, I got a phone call within just a few minutes. Alas, the ultimate response was:

"Our IT guy is out of the country for a while. We'll have him look at it when he gets back."

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

24 February 2008

making it legal

We have officially flunked fostering. Bubba, our foster dog since early January, is no longer a foster. We have decided to keep him for however long "forever" turns out to be for this 12 year old Clumber. We recently found out he's six months older than originally thought, but no matter. We love him and he's home.

I guess we're getting closer to the "three dogs" thing.

bad case of the I WANTs

It's son-day again, time to talk about my adorable 34 month old son's more challenging behaviors. 75% of Oliver's sentences begin with "I want". Of those, at least half are "I want something else," or "I want something new." For the past three days I have been diligently trying to replace "I want" with "May I please have", making absolutely no headway. He will say it if I reminded, but not on his own. Until just before dinner....

As I was cooking he renewed his pleas, begun hours earlier, for a cookie. And wouldn't you know it, entirely unprompted, from his mouth comes "May I please have a cookie?" It being just before dinner, I wasn't about to give him a cookie. It was painful, for both of us. I made a big fuss over his saying what I hoped he would say, but still didn't give him the cookie. Fortunately, he ate all of his dinner, even the second helping he asked for (rare that he asks and when he does, almost unheard of that he ate it all) and some fruit. I offered him a cookie and all was right with the world. He even wanted to share, saving the last bite for me.

This was one of those days where I found myself thinking I probably tortured my family just like this when I was growing up. And I wasn't nearly as cute as Oliver.

23 February 2008


You knew I had to jinx myself when I said my kids were incredibly healthy

Oliver is mostly over whatever has been going around. I like to call it "the plague." Last night Miss Eleanor was similarly afflicted and she is just so miserable. She is so congested that nursing is a challenge. That makes her grumpy, so just about everything, but most especially attempting to wipe her nose, sends her off on a crying binge. Which makes her nose run. Rinse, repeat.

As of this morning, I have it too. Ugh.

my family can out-geek your family

I think the link I posted previously to this article gave my readers a little bit of insight into the level of geekitude in my house. We have just taken another giant leap forward in this regard. We now have a family wiki. All it contains is a list of our dogs' feeding and medication details and a list of our home improvement projects but the possibilities boggle the mind. 

Yes, I am frightened enough for all of us.

22 February 2008

FFF - I butchered this recipe

and wow, was it tasty! Though it did nothing to prevent the clogging of my arteries, what a way to go.

The original recipe was for Linguini with Spinach and Gorgonzola and came from the one cookbook my husband brought with him when he left England. My version was made with three cheese tortellini instead of linguini. I also added garlic and mushrooms. AND BACON!!! 

I am not at all experienced in the fine craft of recipe writing. I'm an improviser (when I am not baking) so here's what I did, aside from not telling the cardiologist:

Put some water on to boil for the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, do the following.

Add a little olive oil to a saute pan. Saute a few cloves of sliced garlic for about 30 seconds, then add some sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms start to give up their liquid. When that happens, turn the heat down and add about half a bag of fresh baby spinach. Stir and put the cover on the pan. Turn the heat off. The spinach will wilt. Then add some chopped bacon. I used about 5 strips. [I don't usually have large packages of bacon in the fridge. I take the lazy route. I buy the frozen pre-cooked stuff that allows me to pull out just a few pieces as needed. Sue me. If you were to do this with proper bacon you would cook it first, remove it from the pan, then add the garlic and mushrooms to the bacon drippings. Omit the olive oil. Chop the bacon and add it back to the pan as described.]

In another little saucepan, combine about half a cup of milk, a tablespoon of butter, and some gorgonzola. I used about a third of a pound. The recipe I had called for more but what I used was plenty. This is where you might want to seriously muck with proportions. I winged it last night and it was just right. When everything is melted and a little thicker than the milk alone add a few grinds of fresh nutmeg, then add the sauce to the saute pan.

Drain the pasta and add it to the saute pan (or add the contents of the saute pan to the pasta...whatever works best). Serve immediately.

look mum, no leaks!

Despite what the title might suggest, this post has nothing to do with diapers. After having a tough time falling asleep last night, Eleanor slept from about 8pm until 6am this morning. I was very happy to hear her making some gentle, waking up noises because after more than 6 consecutive hours of sleep I start to listen at the door to make sure I can hear breathing. 

When I realized the time, and how long it had been since the last time she nursed, I bolted from my bed and into her room, quite sure there was going to be some spontaneous combustion en route. I even considered grabbing my pump out of the closet, since I expected to leak on one side while she nursed on the other. In yet another moment of wonder with the female body, not a drop was leaked, spilled, or shot across the room.

These blips in the schedule are always times of great consternation. I never know if we're undergoing a shift in schedule, tantamount to a seismic event, or if it's just a fluke, a one-off kind of day. Usually when the change is a good one and I hope it continues it turns out to be the latter. This is day two of a much later morning nap so perhaps she's really making a change. Nah, no such luck.

21 February 2008

crisis averted

Yesterday Eleanor and I were out and about, running a few errands. I parked close to Whole Foods and foolishly walked all the way to Kinko's, without putting Ellie in the ergo. It was very cold and she is very heavy.

We got our copies made, our shopping done, and I was strapping her in the carseat when I noticed one foot was missing a shoe. Not just any shoe, it was a penguin shoe. Those shoes were the only thing I bought for Eleanor as soon as we knew she was a girl, back when I was just about 13 weeks pregnant. I was totally sucked in by the whole "limited edition" thing and was sure they would not be available when she actually needed them. Ha! But I digress....

The way life has been going lately I was sure this problem would involve either 1.) letting it go and deciding she is about to outgrow the shoes anyway; or 2.) re-creating my route, schlepping myself and giant baby all the way back to Kinko's.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the missing shoe, right at my feet. Every once in a while, life tosses me a softball. When I am smart enough to notice I am also very appreciative.

20 February 2008

woof woof

Oliver has taken to ordering his mum around, despite my pleas for more "please" as in, "May I please have current object of desire?" rather than "I want current object of desire," or "Get me current object of desire!" Today I made the mistake of asking Oliver to stop barking orders at me. His response? "Woof woof!" And to think I feared he didn't understand sarcasm....

19 February 2008

Clumber on the line

Bit of a roadblock on Thomas' branch line today.


Kim Daboo

Mobile post sent by clumberkim using Utterz Replies.

mostly dead is still slightly alive

My internet connection is down at home. No idea what is happening with my email. No idea when it will be back.

Oliver came home from school early. His teacher said he "hit the wall" in a figurative sense. His temp is close to normal but he was weepy and sleepy and drippy (nose) and just plain unhappy. That was until we got to the car, when he said he was feeling well and could we watch Shaun the Sheep? I began to suspect we had our first case of ditching school but there's also something physical happening. He had an early lunch (didn't eat much...hasn't eaten much for a few days now) and an early nap (when he told me "No hug and kiss. I no love you."* he made me cry!). Seems to be a little better now but I think we're going to have a couple of days of the clingies. 

Ugh. Sick kid and no internet. What is a girl to do?

* We talked about that when he got up. When I told him that what he said made me very sad he apologized very convincingly.

17 February 2008

Eleanor, by the numbers

1 - The number of times Eleanor bit me on Saturday. I think she managed to use all eight teeth. One shot, but she made the most of it.
2 - The number of times Eleanor initiated a game of peek-a-boo on Sunday. She uses her bib, pulling it up to cover her face.

3 - The number of poopy diapers Eleanor had yesterday. This is actually down from four or five most days last week. She is making up for her early months, when 8-10 days between poops was the norm.

4 - The number of times a parent had to visit Eleanor's room between 8pm last night and 7am this morning.

5 - The number of times Eleanor nurses each day, which means 35 times a week, not that we're counting....

they really do say the darndest things

Oliver has been a bit under the weather this weekend. He started going downhill during Music Together on Saturday morning. Before nap he said, "I not feeling well." 

That was putting it mildly. His temp was 102.8. Being a mean sort of mommy, I like to let his body try to fight such things off on its own so he didn't get any fever-reducing meds until bedtime. He woke up fever-free and much, much happier. He's got a little cough and the nose is starting to drip a little, but I think we may have escaped anything more serious.

[I'll no doubt regret saying this "out loud" but we have remarkably healthy kids. Oliver has had one round of antibiotics in his nearly three years. When bugs start going around at school he almost always has a milder version of what the other kids have, if he gets it at all. Eleanor has not been sick yet, beyond a runny nose last December. Neither has had an ear infection. I have no idea how this has happened, though I'm willing to give some credit to making sure they get enough sleep, even if it means taking a pass on doing something fun that would keep them up past their usual bedtime.]

We have reached the stage where words from Oliver are expected and not terribly earth-shattering but whole sentences are truly astonishing (to his parents). Here is a sampling of things I heard today:

"Pat me on the head, like Bubba."
"Is that a tunnel? I go through."
"I pretending. Bubba and me go shopping together. I need a purse."
"I love you more. You go away now."

No one was more astonished than his Granny in England when we rang her this afternoon. First he sang a song to her in Spanish (Don Alfredo Baila, from Music Together), then he got his tea set and made her a cuppa, even getting the "milk" added at the right moment. CD and I decided he may have a bright future as a butler, if the whole hairdressing thing doesn't work out.

[Monday morning update: Here's what Oliver said in the car, as I was strapping him into the carseat:  "I need a nose wipe. And my fingers. Have nose on them."]

16 February 2008

cross your eyes

Cross your eyes, your fingers, whatever you've got. I just finished reading and signing or initialing a 26 page document for the sale of our old house. There are a few contingencies, of course, but nothing we are terribly worried about. The only big risk is that we now cancel the auction that was scheduled for March 8, though the sale could still fall through after that date. The auctions is considered "on" at least until the buyers meet the contingencies scheduled for before March 8.

No statues of St Joseph were involved, but I was really, really close to burying one in the backyard.

Closing is slated for March 17. Happy St Patrick's day! I think it is safe to say CD and I will be raising a glass or two when it is all done, though green beer is an unlikely choice.

15 February 2008

FFF - valentine's day dinner

Dinner went well last night, thus qualifying for fabulous food friday. We had some Lundberg Wild Rice Blend, sauteed Swiss chard, and this:

Pheasant with Port and Cherry Sauce

The original recipe is for pork tenderloin, sliced into 16 medallions. I used pheasant instead.

1 cup ruby port
1/3 cup dried sweet cherries
4 teaspoons seedless raspberry jam
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter

Add the cherries to the port and let them soak while the pheasant cooks.

Pan fry the pheasant pieces, keeping in mind that pheasant dries out quickly if cooked too long. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

In the same pan combine the port, cherries, jam and mustard. Bring to a boil in the frying pan. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about three minutes). Remove from the heat. Stir in butter with a whisk and serve over the meat. 

I cooked way about twice as much pheasant as we needed, even though I put some of it back into the freezer when it was partially thawed. Not sure what I am going to do with a whole bunch of cooked pheasant pieces. I had a lovely pheasant hash at Lidia's for brunch a few years back, but that was done with ground pheasant. I'll have to search for a recipe and try to use it up anyway.

I served it with some red wine in schmancy new wine glasses. It wasn't bad for cheap. The wine, I mean. It was cheap. Not the glasses, even if I did get them at Target. I felt that it was important to mark 5 years since CD proposed with some addition to our household. The glasses seemed like a reasonably good choice.

The chocolate mousse I made for dessert was discussed in an earlier post and the recipe is here. (I used 85% Valrhona and they are not kidding about higher percentage chocolate leading to a denser finished product.) Though I cut the recipe in half, the margarita glasses I used were rather full. To add insult to injury, I finished them with freshly whipped cream. That's a lot of chocolate. And fat. Yum.

on the band

Oliver may be watching just a tad too much tv. Yesterday he asked to watch Thomas but when I reached for our Thomas dvd, he said, "No. On the band, Mum."  It took me a few minutes to figure out he meant "on demand".

14 February 2008

30 second Valentine

I'm a little more proud of this than I have a right be. I spent 30 seconds thinking about it and 30 more executing it, including the hand written note on the back. That's all the time I had when I realized I should put a little Valentine in Oliver's lunchbox today.

valentine's day menu

I've been busy this morning, doing a little dinner preparation. Though Oliver refuses to believe me, CD did indeed propose to me on Valentine's day, five years ago. We didn't really think about doing anything until it was beyond too late to try for a sitter. Instead, we will have a quiet dinner together after the kids are in bed.

CD is a bit of a dark chocolate fiend so I made the chocolate mousse with some killer Valrhona 85%. Oh. My. I hope he recognizes the restraint I had to exercise while making dessert. I guess the romance isn't entirely dead after all.

The rest of the menu is pheasant in a dried cherry and port sauce, if the pheasant thaws, and some sauteed swiss chard. I forgot to take the birds out of the freezer last night. As spaniel owners, we love to watch our dogs and those of our friends do what they were bred to do. We work at or spectate at hunt tests as often as we can. Though I have no desire to ever fire a gun, I have enormous respect for those who work their dogs in the field AND eat the results. I was fortunate to be offered some pheasant by a hunter friend, already cleaned and bagged. A major, irresistible treat. I hope my meager cooking skills can do the birds justice.

If all goes well, I will post the recipes tomorrow.

13 February 2008

up to her old tricks

Clumber spaniels are known for trying to consume a variety of interesting non-food objects and Penguin is no exception. In fact, she has had two surgeries for "foreign-body removal" and I have lost count of how many times she has eaten something, or caused us to suspect she had. As a result, I have learned a thing or two about what to do in this kind of situation. 

My plan of attack varies by situation. If I catch her in the act and the item is swallowed before I can grab it, salt is the best solution. That is what works for us. 1 teaspoon of salt on her tongue causes her to vomit within about 5 minutes. A common remedy is hydrogen peroxide but I tried that a couple of times with Penguin and it never worked. (Note: It is very important to consult your veterinarian before administering any of the treatments mentioned here.)

If I suspect she has eaten something but I don't know for sure I just watch her very, very carefully for any signs of an obstruction. Depending on my level of certainty, I might start giving her laxatone at mealtime. Laxatone is a hairball medication for cats but it works well to grease up the works, allowing things to pass more easily. This was successful once when Penguin swallowed a fairly large piece of a Greenie, the last one she was ever allowed to have.

So what other things has Penguin consumed? In her first surgery, three items were found: a squeaker she stole from a handler at a show, the rubber rim from a spaniel bowl, and a wire twist-tie. We know the squeaker was in her belly at least six months, and the rubber rim at least three. Her second surgery, just four months later, was scarier. She had pantyhose and I have heard of at least one other Clumber who died after eating those. Our vet felt strongly she would have lost a good bit of intestine, if not worse, had we waited even another hour to do the surgery. After that second round our vet suggested we install a zipper, or perhaps a little velcro, instead of stitching her up in the usual fashion. Anything to save us the $1000 each of her little indiscretions cost us!

Penguin is 10 years old now. Though I vowed she would never be uncrated if we were not home, the recent addition to our household of a 12 year old foster Clumber who does not tolerate crates well has caused me to re-think this. She's been trustworthy for a number of years and has been fine uncrated for the last couple of months. We were lulled into complacency, or perhaps our hyper-vigilance just became second nature. This is despite having young children. I have been very proud of Penguin with regard to Oliver's, and more recently Eleanor's, toys. Until two evenings ago, I had nearly forgotten her prior indiscretions. 

What happened to bring it all back to me? I came upstairs from our basement to find CD trying to get something out of Penguin's mouth. Penguin had plucked a sock, one that was no doubt already starting to fall off, from baby Eleanor's foot while the baby was sitting in her high chair. Penguin is very attentive to Eleanor when she is in the high chair, a human cheerio dispenser all for Pen. 

Since we saw the sock being swallowed, I reached for the salt. It worked like a charm and the sock was back in less than five minutes. Though the incident surprised me, what is most surprising is that after nearly three years of baby socks in the house, this is the first time Penguin has eaten one.

12 February 2008

live blogging Westminster, part 2

8:07pm Kids are in bed and dinner for the grownups is in the oven. Here we go again, and here come the real Sporting, dogs.

8:08pm They all look mah-velous so far. I have a few friends in the ring, both canine and human, so this will be a really tough one to call. Lots of bitches too. Go girls!

8:10pm Nice move on the part of the judge to congratulate the handlers on their win. You will probably hear him say it to each handler. Brittany used his ears very nicely on his free stack.

8:11pm Pretty pointer bitch. I have heard about Holly but not seen her before. Great head on her.

8:16pm Listen to those breed descriptions! A few years back David Frei contacted the AKC parent clubs to get updated language for these blurbs. What Mike Lafave says about the Clumber was written by my friend JT and me.

8:17pm Love that golden bitch. Not the way overdone coat that is sometimes seen. She's gorgeous.

8:21pm Elliot looks like he spent some time in the tanning booth. I don't think it's the lighting. The setters are all so pretty. A great example of a type of dog I love to look at but probably couldn't live with.

8:24pm Take a good look at that American Water Spaniel bitch. She's a good one, and it's a breed you don't see very often.

8:25pm Carleton the Clumber will be first up in the second half of the group. His handler also won English Cockers with Copper, who seems to have come out of retirement. Not sure who is showing him.

8:28pm Carleton looked great. He's a young dog with a bright future ahead of him. His first time out as a special he was Best in Show.

8:30pm The ASCOB cocker is a strong contender to win the group. As much as I don't like the American cockers, this is a really nice one. All that hair would not serve him well in the field, however.

8:32pm I thought Copper was retired already.... He's still beautiful and would certainly get a long look from me if I were judging. Which I am not.

8:35pm Someday I'll try to understand field spaniels. They seem like a dog put together by committee to me.

8:37pm Love the Welshie bitch. I have seen her before and she gets better as she matures.

8:39pm Not the viszla I was expecting to see. That's the first surprise for me. I'll have to go back and look at the breed judging video.

8:40pm No surprises with the Weimaraner bitch. She's done a ton of winning in the last year.

8:42pm Weim? English Springer? I dunno. Not gonna make a pick for this group tonight. I'll just sit back and be surprised. And raise my glass to Chet Collier.

8:45pm Expected at least one setter to make the cut but none of them showed as well as they could have. I think he likes the engie.

8:48pm Weimaraner, pointer, ascob, and engie. Can't argue any of those choices. Bitches at the head of the line. Nicely done, Mr Weiss.

8:54pm The next two groups could not be more different. Toys and Working. I don't like toys much, as you probably could have guessed. Blogging will be light.

9:05pm There are few toy dogs I could live with. I might break it. Cavaliers are cute though. When I am old and infirm....

9:09pm The b&pc english toy spaniel is owned by some gentlemen from Pittsburgh, one of whom is the son of Steeler's defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

9:11pm Okay, I'm bored. Wake me when the toys are over.

9:22pm Once again, the poodle is a safe choice.

9:30pm Almost done with the toys. Mercifully.

9:31pm Based on who made the cut, it's gotta be the poodle.

9:33pm No surprises. There will be two white poodles competing for BIS. I liked the pug too. Nice to see him in the ribbons.

9:47pm At last, some more big dogs with jobs!

9:48pm Oh dear...haven't seen Connie Barton in a good long time. Handlers will be well-advised to listen to Mrs Barton's instructions carefully. 

9:50pm I'll go out on a limb and say the Akita is going to repeat.

9:55pm Berners are way too much fun. My neighbors have one that I would really like to meet. Love the boxer too.

9:59pm Damn, that's a pretty doberman. It's not a breed I really like but for that one, I could get over it.

10:02pm Great Dane looks a little sad.

10:04pm I love the great pyrenees, and the description that they should look like an "animated snowdrift". 

10:07pm Swissies are probably lovely dogs but I saw one once in 1999 that made me want to cover up its genitalia with a diaper. I think I may have been scarred for life. 

10:12pm I've been eager to see the Newfoundland since I saw the breed results. They just said he's 5 1/2 but the catalog says he's almost 7. That's nearly ancient for a dog of this size. He looks great.

10:18pm Pretty Samoyed. She could get a piece of the group.

10:19pm Hey, it's Tommy O and the siberian!!! Another Pittsburgher! Well done!

10:23pm I'm sticking with the Akita as my pick to win the group.

10:27pm Akita, Dobe, some other big dogs. I'm tired. Probably should have skipped the second glass of champagne. On to BIS!

10:32pm My picks are the sealy and the akita, though that could change after I see them show. A dog can have a bad day, or a spectacular day. At least the Pedigree ads will be over.

10:39pm I hope none of the dogs is spooked by the lights when they are introduced. There's no way to practice that.

10:43pm I don't think I have ever seen this many bitches competing for BIS at the garden. Five bitches and two males! Wow.

10:45pm This judge talks to the dogs. I like that. My show dogs have always responded well to judges who cootchie-coo at them. I wish they could show a split screen with that standard poodle and the one from the movie Best in Show. The difference would be abundantly obvious.

10:46pm Marge is ON!

10:48pm The aussie is in great coat for having puppies a few months ago. I never would have guessed that.

10:49pm Crowd loves the beagle, understandably. He's adorable.

10:50pm I still love the sealy. I'm sticking with him but I'm not entirely confident this judge feels similarly.

10:53pm This part is excruciating, and really really fun.

10:56pm It's the beagle!!!! I'm more than a little surprised. I didn't think he showed as well as last night. But that's dog shows....you never know!

10:59pm And that's Eleanor crying. Great timing, little girl. She didn't make a sound during the entire show.

mad libs for grownups

Okay, not exactly mad libs, but go check out the Bureau of Communications. (Courtesy of How About Orange?)

fun in the tub

Not much here to embarrass her when she's older. Will try harder next time.

That's Oliver you hear in the background, getting ready for bed.

11 February 2008

live blogging Westminster

8:06pm  Release the hounds!! I always hope Mr Lafave will say that to introduce the hounds but he never does. Someday when I am stewarding the groups I will do it. I have threatened before but have wimped out every time.

So far, I haven't spotted a scary outfit on any handlers. Only a matter of time.

8:11pm Mike Stone says the basset can pull a sled with his mals. Yeah. Okay.

8:13pm The big beagle is really cute. With my favorite Otterhound out of the competition, losing this morning in the breed ring, he's got a great shot at the group win.

8:15pm Pretty bloodhound bitch. And a borzoi groomed within an inch of its life. Makes for pretty tv though.

8:17pm Not exactly a Glamour don't but I am really tired of the bright blue jacket on Carlos. More pretty tv.

8:20pm Another repeat on the wardrobe. When's the last time we saw the American foxhound handler without a red riding jacket at the garden? Entirely appropriate to the breed though. Can't fault her on it.

I know I referred to the "big beagle" before. I suppose the foxhounds are really, really big beagles.

8:22pm Ugh, not more from Pedigree and their alleged support for homeless dogs. I'm going to be really tired of them by the end of tomorrow night.

8:24pm Commercial break means more champagne. I'm drowning my sorrows in the usual fashion.

8:27pm Very nice harrier, owned by folks who breed very nice boxers.  And hey, that's Kassie with the Ibizian hound! I know her! She shows Clumbers, among other breeds.

8:29pm Nice threads on Peter Kubacz with the Irish Wolfhound. He's always well-dressed, and I've seen him since he was a junior, though usually there's plaid.

8:30pm I'm going to have to watch the breed judging video for Otterhounds to see what happened to Louie. Very sad that he's not in the ring tonight.

8:35pm Just saw the first good slide on the Saluki. The carpet is very slick. It's amazing it doesn't happen more frequently, to dogs AND handlers.

8:37pm Love love love the whippet. The family this one comes from always has gorgeous whippets and Trent is no exception. He's my pick, but I have a feeling the judge has other ideas.

8:40pm Hey, he pulled the whippet! I think it's the big beagle or the harrier though.

8:43pm No surprises...the big beagle wins the group. Nice to see the harrier place, too.

8:47pm Eleanor started howling just before the judge made his cut. I was hoping she would stop by the time he finished the group. She did!

8:50pm Now they have to fill a bunch of time due to the incredibly stupid network change at 

8:53pm. They can't do the change in the middle of a group. Angels on a Leash is really cool though. I need to find out what it would take to bring the program to Pittsburgh. I should email David Frei.

8:54pm Where do I sign up to rub David Duchovny's belly?

9:00pm Terriers in the ring. I'm pulling for the Sealyham all the way. His owner-handler is one of the really good people in the dog show world.

9:03pm I love airedales. That's a terrier I might be able to live with.

9:06pm The blue jacket is back. Ugh.

9:09pm Nice white bull terrier, co-owned by a doctor from Pittsburgh. They mentioned a few surgeries on her, due to digestive indiscretions. We had one of those at our house tonight. Penguin snagged a sock from Eleanor. I made her give it back (along with her dinner). Ewwww.

9:15pm Irish terrier will probably go 2nd. But I am usually wrong after #1.

9:16pm I like the kerry blue. This is another breed I like, but know I could never live with.

9:19pm The go 'rounds are always a mess at Westminster because the dogs are arranged alphabetically, rather than by size and speed.

9:23pm Great outfit on the miniature schnauzer handler, though it makes her dog look slightly purple.

9:27pm Hard not to smile at that sealyham. 

9:29pm The wheaten handler also handles Clumbers, among other breeds.

9:32pm Very accurate descriptions of terrier attitude. It's their world, we're just visiting.

9:34pm My picks are sealyham and irish terrier. Beyond that it's anybody's guess.

9:35pm Nice to see the kerry blue make the cut. I think the scottie could also do well.

9:37pm Once again I picked number 1, but fell apart the rest of the way. Way to go, Margery and Charmin!

9:49pm May we have the non-functionals into the ring, please!

9:51pm The judge is one I have never heard of. This scares me. I have been away from showing too long. 

9:52pm Bitchin' Frizzy looks like a q-tip. On purpose.

9:54pm Listen carefully to what Mike Lafave says about each breed. You could learn something, especially tomorrow night when he introduces the Clumber spaniel.

9:56pm I always like the dalmation, probably because they look like they could do a day's work, unlike some others in this group.

9:58pm Scratch that. The frenchie is very cute, and probably gave his handler a coronary when he put on the brakes. As a handler, you have to laugh at that.

10:03pm Very nice mini poodle, daughter of a former BIS winner. She's not cooperating on the free stack though. Still gorgeous on the move.

10:05pm My annual rant about standard poodles.... They belong in the sporting group. I would gladly trade the american cockers to the non-sporting group for the standard poodle. Now THAT would spice things up a bit.

10:09pm Eleanor howling again.... Will wait and see if she's still screaming when the group is done.

10:11pm I really don't have a clue but a poodle is always a safe bet. Love the Chow Chow though. It's easier to guess when I know something about the judge.

10:13pm I am three for three in choosing group winners. It's one of my few skills. Too bad there's no OTB for this. And Eleanor went back to sleep.

10:24pm Herding now in the ring, the last group of the night. If you're thinking about a border collie, or any of these dogs, and you live in a city, where are you going to keep the sheep? These dogs need jobs and if you don't give them one, they will make stuff up. You won't what they come up with.

10:26pm The australian cattle dog handler used to show Chewy. He's finally bought a new tie. He's wearing the same tie in every show photo I have ever seen of him with Chewy.

Kind of like that australian shepherd, but I have never read the standard.

10:28pm I love beardies! Someday there could be a beardie bounce in my life. I have a good friend who is a breeder and would send me one in a heartbeat. Maybe when the kids are older. So many breeds, so little time.

10:39pm Nothing is grabbing me in this group. At least no one has pooped in the ring yet.

10:43pm Smokin', the old english sheepdog was pacing on the down part of the down and back. Yikes!

10:45pm I like the puli best, followed by the australian shepherd. The GSD will probably win though.

10:51pm Not surprisingly, the OES didn't make the cut. Nice dog, but not showing his best tonight.

10:53pm No guts, no glory. I should have gone out on a limb and called it for the aussie but I was trying to play it safe...always my downfall. I'll have to settle for three out of four.

Same time tomorrow....

let the games begin

 The silence was deafening but I'm live blogging Westminster anyway. I already like having my champagne in a glass instead of a plastic cup. For not much more than I usually pay for the cup I got an entire bottle. Should be okay for tomorrow too if I get the vacu-vin stopper in place. I failed to procure the traditional ice cream bar, however.

should she, or shouldn't she?

Since I'm not in New York for my favorite Gah-den Pah-ty this week, what do y'all think about my doing some live blogging during the TV coverage of Westminster from the comfort of my living room? Champagne in one hand, though not in a plastic cup like I would have if I were there, keyboard in the other. I will try not to be too catty about the Glamour Don'ts. Discuss.

10 February 2008

troubling transitions

Sonday again, after a somewhat rough weekend. Oliver has always had trouble with transition. His parents are getting better at what he needs to skate through them more smoothly. The timer has become our friend. Oliver even asks for it sometimes.

For some reason though, we have issues when CD returns from a trip. Leaving doesn't seem to be much of a problem. The first day following a departure isn't always a walk in the park but it's nothing like the first day or two after he returns. Most of the time we can forget Oliver is technically "a terrible two". Not so this weekend. At Music Together on Saturday he was frequently out of control, feeding off the two boys who spend most of the class completely out of their minds. 

And then there were the meltdowns, the screaming, hitting, kicking, thrashing meltdowns. I lost count of how many there were. Most of his sentences now begin with, "I want". If the answer isn't "Yes, my liege." we get a meltdown. If he doesn't say "please" I ignore him completely. If he does say "please" but I still can't grant the wish of the moment, I am trying really hard to not play into the meltdown. When I needed to get him dressed today, after getting him upstairs and on his changing table (not without a fight), he was making it impossible to change his diaper. I just walked away and told him to let me know when he was ready. Then I went into my room to fold laundry. It was only about 15 seconds before he called out to me that he was ready. This strategy seems to be effective and get things under control quickly and with a minimum of trauma on both sides.

The weather today didn't help. It was cold and windy and snowy so we didn't get outside. I should have bundled him up and taken him out anyway, if only for a few minutes, but the windchill was below zero. It's now in the single digits, without the wind. brrrr...

09 February 2008

I just had to ask?

Eleanor slept from 7:15pm to 10:15pm, then from 10:30pm until 7:30am! I asked for more sleep and the little girl delivered! Alas, I stayed up too late with Harry Potter so I still didn't get quite enough sleep, but I cannot blame either child. 

CD is home, and I may get a little break from "mummy mummy" soon.

08 February 2008


This is post number 553 for Three Dogs and a Baby. Family who read this will not have any trouble spotting the significance*. Good thing I happened to take a look at that stat because I really have nothing today. This does not bode well for Blog365. We're only on day 39. Maybe if I get some sleep....

*553 was my dad's license plate. The numbers added up to 13, which was important for him. I seem to notice it when it crops up in my life. Our hotel room number in Florida in January of 2006 was 553, for example.

07 February 2008

where to begin?

Since my brain is a sieve, before going out tonight I made a list of things I need to write about. Here's the list:

dead steamer
open field sitting
one more day
girly movie
cleaning for the sitter
toxic dog farts

Oh, where to start? I'll just take them in order.

dead steamer - The steamer is one of my favorite things in my favorite room in the house. It hasn't worked for two months. On his third trip here, the repair guy spent four hours trying to fix it. Then they decided to order yet another round of parts, only to find out some of them are unavailable. I started calling the Gaggenau people trying to find out what gives. After a few frustrating hours on the phone with them, they finally agreed to give me a new one. Little tip to the folks at Gaggenau...don't call me to say you have the problem figured out and then put me on hold when you discover you don't really have a handle on the issue at all. It's not nice.

open field sitting - Eleanor did it! Yesterday I said she would probably figure out how to go from crawling to sitting, without a wall for extra support, within a week. It took her less than 24 hours. Shows you what I know.

one more day - CD is still in California at one of his regularly scheduled geekfests. He will be back Saturday. And not a day too soon. I've had just about enough of this flying solo stuff. 

potter - Since I never sleep well when CD is away, I decided to add insult to injury and finally started reading the last Harry Potter book. It's hard to put down, as all of you know (since I am the last person on earth to read it). 

girly movie - CD is soooo lucky. He should probably send my friend Tara a thank you note for saving him from having to see 27 Dresses. It's one of the better girly movies I have seen in a very long time. And not just because I didn't have to go see anything blow up in exchange. The only thing that could have made it better would be a hot waiter with an Irish accent at the restaurant next door to the movie theater. Oh wait, we had that too. Yum.

cleaning for the sitter - Do you clean before the sitter comes? Last Sunday a friend came to watch Eleanor while I took Oliver to a class at the zoo. She was grossed out by my dining room table and cleaned it. So today I was frantically vacuuming the house and cleaning the bathrooms for a woman who cleans my son's butt when he poops. Clare, if you're reading, now you know how much I really, really appreciate you, especially that butt-wiping part. The list of people I'm willing to clean for is extremely short. It has grown in recent years, but is still short.

and last but not least,

toxic dog farts - I feel worse about this than I would have if I had not cleaned up the house before the sitter arrived. I forgot to warn her about Bubba, our foster dog, and his toxic farts. She said she figured it out eventually, but not before she went upstairs to see if the stench was coming from one of the kids' rooms. How could something that noxious come out of something this cute?IMG_3667
And while we're on the subject of gaseous eminations, Oliver told me he had "gas" today. It was so much cuter when he called it "a bit of wind". Alas, Bubba does not have bits of wind. It's just foul.

06 February 2008

all at once

Eleanor had a very big day, developmentally. She picked up and drank from a sippy cup without assistance. She also went from crawling to sitting, as Oliver would say, "all by self." For that last one it helps if there is a wall or other means of support nearby. She still can't quite do it "in the open field" but it's only a matter of time, and I predict she has it down within a week.

She has also started saying "mumumumum" more consistently. This may turn out to be her first word, thus making up for her brother who was at least fifteen months old before "mum" made his list of words. I was after things like "dog" (his first word) and "duck".

05 February 2008

not so super tuesday

Nothing terribly super about Tuesday here. It's unseasonably warm, and raining like crazy. The warm weather won't last. It's just a tease. I'm hoping all the bulbs I planted are ignoring what is going on above the ground. I fear they are not that smart. I had almost forgotten them, until I saw a squirrel digging in the flower bed this afternoon. Oliver found it hysterically funny that his mum was chasing the squirrels away from her flower beds. I was happy to do anything to amuse him. At least the rain let up long enough for us to be outside for a little while.

I'm watching a little of the election coverage but it isn't exactly gripping stuff. It is nice to see the race is tight enough that my vote might actually matter, once my state gets around to holding its primary. Still, I'm not holding my breath on that one. 

After a brief period as a "bomb 'em back to the stone age" republican, I now reside firmly to the left of center. In November I'll vote for whomever wins the democratic nomination since all the republicans make me more than a little ill, but I would be lying if I said the idea of voting for a woman wasn't a little bit exciting. That's about all I find inspiring this year. The process takes too damn long and wastes too damn much money. If they could find a way to put that money towards solving some of the country's problems, the politicians would have my undivided attention.

04 February 2008

not at all like chicken

not at all like chicken

Don't you just want to take a bite out that thigh?

03 February 2008

words to live by

Oliver has taken to telling me, "Don't be too curious!", usually when I put him in the car and go back inside to arm the alarm system. Apparently he fancies himself a man with a yellow hat. And I must have disproportionately long arms and a penchant for bananas.

His language development surprises me daily. Sentences come from what seems like nowhere. We have been through a language explosion or three before but I'm still caught wondering where this stuff comes from. And I know I should be keeping better track of it.

Since CD is off in Cupertino for a painfully long time, Oliver has to amuse himself while I put Eleanor to bed. A couple of nights ago he sat in his room, reading a book out loud to himself. Okay, he wasn't so much "reading" as reciting from memory but it was still pretty cool to hear. I know, of course, that he's growing up. I just forget sometimes.

And just a sidenote about the super bowl. If I liked Tom Brady I probably would have cared and watched the second half. Alas, there was more Jane Austen on PBS. Too bad Eleanor woke up and I missed the last part of that too.

02 February 2008

FFF - baking is chemistry

Fabulous Food Friday is here on Saturday. It seems all I have to do is schedule a great breakfast out with Andrea and there's automatically a weather event that causes a two-hour delay in her kids' school districts. So I opted to make my own tasty treat, Madeleines. I thought about it on Friday. Does that count?

Since baking is chemistry, I pre-measure everything. I even remembered to get the eggs to room temperature. That's them sitting with the apples and pears in the grey felt thingy (that I love almost as much as my minivan).

The recipe I use is from Baking with Julia. Can't figure out what to do with the cup of confectioner's sugar it calls for, since it is never mentioned, and the oven is little too hot, but otherwise it's pretty straightforward. It does have a few too many steps and uses a few too many bowls, but the results are worth the effort. It has been at least three moves, and quite possibly four, since I used the madeleine plaque. The new kitchen greatly improves the process though. I'll try to make them a little more often, even though they got a little too brown, and Oliver declared his preference for the ones at Starbucks. (He's wrong about that. Mine were decidedly lighter and fluffier). 

More pics of the process and finished product on Flickr.

01 February 2008