30 June 2011

Lakeside wildlife: navy worms

I had never seen these creatures until a few years ago: I'm told they're called Navy worms.

 Navy worm on the left; ant on the right. Perhaps they're in love.

Whatever the name, they are EVERYWHERE at the lake again this year. They cluster at corners of the fence, climb up onto cars, and fall out of the trees like wiggling raindrops. Voracious eaters of leaves, they don't seem to be interested in biting any other living thing.

They are a little creepy, especially in such large numbers, and the expansive damage they leave behind is massive, but up close I find them kind of, dare I say, cute.

I'm probably going to regret that one day, when the world is taken over by navy worms, and all the trees die, and they turn to eating humans. Until then, though, they make fun photo subjects.

28 June 2011

Seven recovers nicely, it turns out.

After a week, Seven got to take his silly cone collar off, and his eye is so much better. We still don't know if he has vision in that eye, but since it's finally considerably smaller than a tennis ball, and it isn't hurting him, we are happy dog owners. Someone recently pointed out that his breed is the best, because it's the two swears: bichon/shih tzu. For some reason I find this completely delightful.
 We're still working on the finer points of housetraining, and he likes to bark a lot at our neighbor's three dogs (who bark at him even more). But he is so soft, and every so often he comes over, and rubs against my shin with his goofy face, and we feel pretty lucky to have such a sweet addition to our family.
How could anyone not love that fluffy face? Awwww...

27 June 2011

My little mermaid

I think it's way too cold to swim today, and this water was fresh from the hose. But the girl, she loves any water. And I think she's learned a couple of tricks from Seven.

Hope you're making the most of your summer.  We're sure trying. 

26 June 2011

Holy crap. Nine years.

I've said it all before, here, and here, and here. Nine years married to the hairy, crazy, crass, loving man that is Shaun. We celebrated on Friday with dinner out and a Netflix movie. That's what nine years has done to us: made us crazy celebraters.

Eight years ago, we had a giant reception for ourselves. I got to wear my wedding dress again, and Tami did my hair, and all of our dearest friends and family showed up to party like rockstars. Above, we're singing "You're the One That I Want" from Grease. It was the best party we've ever thrown (except Tenessa got crazy hungover: oops).

Maybe if we make it nine more, we'll throw ourselves another reception. V will be 14: she could babysit for you, if you needed. Or almost sobercab us all home. Would you come? We'd love to see you!

25 June 2011

Quirky is as quirky does

I am Dewey Johnson's daughter: collections of weird, old crap make me feel like I'm home. But when it's not my old weird crap, and it's right next to my house, I start to like it a little bit less.

 Collection of old paint cans three inches from my driveway. Early Summer 2011-present. (Now buried under three truck loads of lumber).

My neighbor is essentially who I would've grown up to be if not for Shaun: she's single, has no children, and struggles with health issues. She also loves dogs and swears like a sailor. I kind of like her, and she's always kind to V in the way that people who are sickly and swear like sailors try to be nice to kids. Aside from her penchant for letting homeless people live in my driveway, I have no problem with her. She's sort of hardscrabble, and I like that. But she collects. Well, no. She hoards.
The lawnmower collection. June 15 2011- present.
Five push mowers and one riding mower. In a standard city lot (40' x 120' or so). No professional mowing business involved. The rhubarb, above, is growing right on our property line, through our fence (thank god for fences).

So, I don't really care about any of that stuff. I mean, it's kind of unsightly, but if I wanted a scenic vista I certainly shouldn't've bought a house in North Moorhead. And V's not the kind of kid who goes wandering into other people's yards, so I'm not worried about her safety, exactly. Though those paint cans must be some sort of environmental hazard...our other neighbors (everyone else on our street, as far as I can tell) HATE it. They hate her stuff, and many of them strongly dislike our neighbor, or worse. Believe it or not, the city came a couple of autumns ago and took everything away (yes. these two collections are all less than two years old), and I don't know about your city, but ours doesn't really show up unless they get numerous complaints. But none of those complaints came from us. Afterwards, everyone on our block got a letter of reprimand from the city, telling us to play nice and not call each other names or tell our children malicious things which they may repeat (seriously. It's an awesome letter). It made me very sad, and not because we had been playing nice all along. It's just sad to me when grown ups are mean to each other.

And truly, my neighbor's collection is nothing compared to what my family compiled, before and after I was born. We owned over half a city block, and my dad and uncle would scoff at only six different lawnmowers. Somewhere in heaven, Dewey's laughing. "I had six mowers by the time I was V's age!"

Still, I feel like I'm not a very good American somehow if this doesn't piss me off more. What's your take, gentle readers? Would you be more annoyed than I am? Is it just my crap-filled upbringing that makes me tolerate this crazy hoarding issue? For the record, Shaun doesn't care at all about her stuff: as long as it doesn't affect him, she can do what she wants. Perhaps we're just the libertarian family on a block full of angry republicans.

I do know that if there's a zombie apocalypse, my neighbor's house is going to have most of what we might need to survive. Perhaps that should be my main comfort.

22 June 2011

Things that Confuse Me: List #17

9. How airplanes stay up (Yes, I know, air pressure, propulsion, blah blah blah).

8. Communicating with Shaun (it's not just mars & venus. ugh)

7. Parenthood (why does almost everyone do this when it is SO DAMN HARD?)

6. Why I live in this godforsaken part of the world.

5. Dinosaurs (Do not tell me Noah had dinosaurs on the ark. I will poke you).

4. People who just don't get grammar. At all. (Not people who make mistakes sometimes, mind you. I mean people who just have no grasp).

3. People who honk inappropriately (This could be my own issue, since I always assume it's directed at me. I think I have excess driving guilt).

2. People in general (I would make a terrible waitress. Or greeter).

1. Most children's television (Calliou, I'm looking in your direction).

If you can explain any of the above, or want to share what puzzles your own self, please leave a comment. Please.

15 June 2011

Things I consider when I really should be grading (Winning the Lottery)

If I won the lottery:
I'd pay off our mortgage, and our car. Then our student loans, and our immediate family’s student loans, and Tami's & Susanne's student loans would all be paid off. Others to be considered once a year by an elaborate application process that I will likely develop in the near future, just in case.

I would buy my grandmother’s house, next door to my mom’s, and set it up as a little quilt shop. Who cares if we break even? We’ll put a long-arm machine in the boys’ room, upstairs, and serve cookies & peppermint tea every single day. Wanna come over?

I’d buy my sister and her family a reasonable, lovely home to move to their lovely lot.

I’d buy an elaborate Gypsy caravan & a ‘68 Dodge Coronet to pull it. Then V and I and Seven (and Shaun, if 'n he wants to) would travel where few people have seen Gypsy caravans. Like…um, Kentucky. And Montana. Maybe New Mexico.

Then I’d get myself 3 new pairs of Danksos, in brown, black, and red. Because everyone loves red shoes.

And that's it. Seriously. Oh, okay. I'd probably put up a 6' cedar fence around our backyard, and plant a bunch of kick ass perennials, and hire someone to paint our window ledges this summer. Because I'm going to be driving all over in the Coronet, so I don't have time to mow the lawn or climb ladders and whatnot.

Howsabout you?

12 June 2011

What we're enjoying right now....

 Backyard wildlife.

 Visiting the in-laws.
Soft pupdog cuddling.

Hope your June is going beautifully.

09 June 2011

My kind of sculpture

The shelter where we went to adopt Seven is a working ranch, with all kinds of fauna. And as we drove in, it was pretty clear that if my crazy neighbor Kathy and I lived on a farm together, this would be the kind of place we'd have.
 Most notable, aside from the turkeys, llamas, dogs, peacocks, ducks, geese, and cats, were the mannequin heads.
 Atop the fence posts, with silk flower accoutrement.
And the occasional farmyard diorama.
 One of the members of the board has a beauty school, and donates heads each season. I'm so jealous. And I love how they look after enduring the Northern Minnesota winters.
 I love a girl with an Ankh earring....
Or a fella with a head full of blooms.
I was so grateful they let me take photos, because they are really hard to describe effectively. Now, who knows where I can get myself some mannequin heads?

Ebony and Ivory

Seven meeting Rocket for the first time.

Thanks for all your happy responses to Seven! Some of you had questions about him, and since he's all I want to talk about lately, I'm more than happy to do another post.

We found Seven through Petfinder.com, a lovely way to yank your own heartstrings. I have read more than enough student essays on puppy mills to convince me of the importance of pet adoption, but we've also had our share of less than perfect pets through adoption. I do recommend pet adoption, though, to anyone considering pet ownership.  There are so damn many dogs (and cats, and bunnies....) waiting.

We didn't have a name chosen when we went to pick him up, but we had fun on the drive home: V liked Milk, Coconut, and Vanilla (but she may have just needed a snack). I loved Umlaut and Dr. Nutbucket (any pet name that begins with "Dr." or "Mr." is automatically funnier). Shaun was unimpressed, until I mentioned numbers. Eleven? Five? (I liked Five, because V is, of course, a roman numeral....) I said we could name him Nine, after Roger Maris. And it came to us, clearly, as a family, that this little dog should be named Seven. It's a Seinfeld reference, and also V was born on the seventh of September. And it's a lucky number. And Mickey Mantle's. And none of us hated it (though I cried a little to lose Dr. Nutbucket).

Aside from his eye, Seven is healthy (knock on wood!), though he does sometimes make funny little hiccup/burp noises when he sleeps. It's just about the cutest sound ever.

08 June 2011

The rumors you have heard are true.

We have a new dog.  We've named him Seven.
 He's a bichon-shih-tzu cross, and will be one year old on June 25th. We got him from a rescue, who got him from a puppy mill. He's housetrained, and kinda quiet, and he is completely in love with V.
 An hour before we picked him up, he got bitten in the eye by another dog. These photos are from day one and two; by day three, he was an unholy mess (I have photos, but you don't want to see them). $160 worth of dog medications later, his eye is getting better, and hopefully he'll get to have his funny cone-shaped collar removed by the end of the week.
 A warm bundle of fluffy love at my feet? Oh, mercy, I've missed this.
V reads to Seven, and Seven loves V. I hope they have many years of adventures together.