Monday, May 23, 2011


My dogs have been so well-behaved lately that if they were kids, I would swear they wanted something. Like a Mercedes.

We live in a neighborhood where every yard is fully fenced with vertical six-to-seven-foot wooden planks. The lady who lives directly behind us has an annoying little floor-mop that yips its head off at every shadow. (From the little I can see through the slats of the fence, I'd guess it's a white-ish shih tzu.)

We discovered shortly after moving here that our dogs and her dog cannot be outside at the same time because apparently, when our dogs talk to each other through the fence, our neighbor thinks my dogs are terrorizing hers. I didn't even realize she had a problem with it until I overhead her one night telling someone over the phone about how my dogs are "brutes" and "monsters" who "terrorize" her poor baby, and she wants to kill them both. Since then, I've made an effort to keep my dogs indoors when hers is in the yard and to bring mine in when she lets hers out. (Honestly, I wanted to do the opposite out of spite, but I can be a mature adult sometimes, when I try really hard.)

Today, Akela and Blitzkrieg were in the yard when all of a sudden I heard the "YIPYIPYIPYIPYIP!!!!" and the accompanying "jingle-jingle" of the collar that meant the neighbor had let her floormop outside. Of course, Akela and Blitzkrieg got excited and started running back and forth and pawing at the fence. (They're not nearly as talkative as Floormop.) I immediately stepped outside and, without a word, patted my leg. Both of my dogs came directly over to me, and a gentle touch on the back ensured that they stayed quietly at my side while the lady did who-knows-what with her yappy little eagle bait, which continued running up and down the fence barking for another minute or two until the lady got it inside, where it continued to yap, but with the sound somewhat muffled by the closed door.

And MY dogs are the brutes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Bunch of Brief and Somewhat Unconnected Updates

There are wasps building a nest just outside my back door. I'm absolutely terrified of wasps, so consequently, I avoid going outside or even opening the back door anymore. (I'm not terrified enough to get up the motivation to go to the store and get wasp spray, though.)

My dogs are asleep in the sunlight filtering in through the back door (it's sliding glass). The patch gets a little smaller every day as the sun gets more directly overhead. I bet if they knew what it was, they'd be looking forward to the summer equinox.

I've officially reached the point in my jogging where my lungs are proving weaker than my legs. Curse coming from a family with genetically bad lungs. But at least I don't have asthma like almost everyone else in my family.

Jack is going to be gone for half the summer. On the one hand, I'm bummed, but on the other hand, this is much better than a deployment.

We have a Harley-Davidson motorcycle now. It's purple. I'm not allowed to drive it yet because I don't have the motorcycle endorsement on my license, but I'm going to take the class soon. Ish.

Sarah left. Long story. Not going into it.

Jack and I went on the Boy Scout Camporee last week. We were asked two days before if we would go supervise. We showed up and they shoved a camp manual at us and said, "See the bit in there about box oven cooking? Yeah, you're in charge of that station tomorrow." If I've ever used a box oven before, I definitely don't remember it. Jack was in the same boat. So yeah, that went well.

No, actually, it did go well. It took about a half hour or so for things to start working kind of smoothly, but after that, we actually had fun. The district boss-guy told us afterwards that our station had the most laughter and fun of any station. (Apparently Dutch Oven cooking is srs bsns!) Plus the kids did a fantastic job, and the awards (best meal, best dessert, best camp song, best clean-up job, etc) were distributed more or less evenly among the kids even though we didn't weight our decisions.

Hey, if anyone knows where I could find a good tutorial for writing computer code, let me know. I want to review java and maybe learn a few more programming languages, but my old textbook is outdated (so outdated that the program won't work anymore).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Shrimp Story

First of all, in case anyone's been wondering, I've identified the birds at the bottom of the last post as a dark-eyed junco and a song sparrow.

Several days ago, Jack brought me to one of those fancy military dinners. Apparently they were celebrating successfully completing some kind of training event or other, and they all went out to eat at this really nice restaurant. It was a bring-your-wives event. So I dressed up all pretty and went with Jack.

I was as nervous as a mouse put into a nest of snakes. I feel awkward when I'm dressed up anyway (even though I was at least wearing slacks instead of a dress), and it's been a long time since I've had to use any kind of actual etiquette or table manners. Plus I had to remember all the extra military rules that I've never really had occasion to use before, since I don't go to many military events. I was trying to remember all the names and ranks of the people Jack introduced me to, how to properly hold and angle the silverware, trying to keep my elbows off the table, trying to keep from fiddling nervously with my hair or my necklace or my fork, trying to remember not to belch loudly, that sort of thing. I'm sure I came off as somewhat distant and preoccupied.

Halfway through the dinner, I was trying to figure out how to politely eat my salmon, which kept breaking into smaller pieces when I tried to cut it, when suddenly I heard a "splat!" I looked toward the sound and saw a shrimp tail sitting on my spoon. Shrimp tail. On my spoon. It took me about three full seconds before my brain even registered that something about that wasn't quite right.

As it turns out, the captain who was sitting across from me (not Jack) was eating shrimp pasta in some kind of mushroom sauce. Somehow, as he bit the tail off the shrimp (or, more accurately, bit the shrimp off its tail), it had tried to make one last desperate bid for freedom. The tail squirted out of his fingers, bounced off his forehead--splattering his face with mushroom sauce in the process--hit the window, and landed on my spoon, splattering more mushroom sauce on me.

Suddenly, I wasn't so nervous anymore. Everyone at the table ragged on the poor guy mercilessly for the rest of the dinner. It was awesome. And he gave me his hot fudge sundae to make up for it.

Also, I met the colonel. He gave me a rose. D'awwww.