Gone to the Dogs: LeashCandy.dog!

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Murphy sez: Hey – did ya see the new web site J set up for us? It’s still pretty basic, but I think we can work with it. Takes awhile to settle into a new home, eh Mica? J says it took you over six months to settle in here, and it’s been awhile for me too (but she says I’m more flexible, which I think is a good thing except on hard floors).

Mica sez: LeashCandy.dog? Why the heck did she call it that? And what’s “leash candy” anyway? I liked our old “Gone to the Dogs” moniker, personally. Though the .dog extension is pretty cool, on account of…we’re both dogs. And it’s our site. But still…that name…

MurphyDiscussion

Murphy sez: You gotta lighten up, bro. GoneWithTheDogs.com was taken, and J didn’t really think about putting the .dog extension on it, she just went looking for other names. And she remembered hearing someone refer to a good-looking dog as “leash candy” once, and thought about how everyone always stops to tell us how handsome and cute we are, and how much we love the attention. So she got us the LeashCandy.dog domain, and I think it’s pretty cool.

Mica sez: I don’t know, man. It seems a little cheerleader-ish for us. But we are darn handsome, that’s for sure. You’re right about everyone stopping or staring. Well, everyone who isn’t on their phone, anyway. I mean, the other night no less than three people stopped to smile and say hi and pet us on our walk. And the night after that the lady who visited us and J was saying how beautiful our coats are…

Murphy sez: See? That’s why the tagline is, “It’s not just a look, it’s an attitude.” I have my scarred up legs and you’ve got that seriously graying muzzle, but no one cares. They see us walkin’, ears up, tails swinging, smooth, shiny coats and alert eyes, and they want to love on us. Leash candy, man. I’m tellin’ ya – we can work with that.

MicaLook

Mica sez: So I guess we need to tell people to head over to the new site, eh? What about our subscribers? Do they need to resubscribe, or is J gonna take care of that?

Murphy sez: J’s got it handled. She’ll move the people who only subscribe to our posts over there automa-gically. But anyone who’s subscribed to *all* of the posts here at her blog, and want to get our posts at LeashCandy.dog will need to go over and sign up for that one too. But sign-ups won’t be available until later today.

MurphyNewBone

Mica sez: And we’re just gonna keep posting on Fridays over there, right? So no more posts here on Fridays? Seems like that’s gonna leave a hole…

Murphy sez: Don’t you worry, Mica. J’s workin’ on it. And we’ll definitely keep our normal schedule at the new blog, and maybe even have some new posts at different times during the week later on. But for now – definitely Fridays. I like Fridays, don’t you, Mica?

MicaNewBone

Mica sez: Sure, I guess. Not as much as I like Saturdays, when we get new bully sticks or bones to chew on. Or Mondays, when J and B go back to work and let us sleep. But Fridays are okay. Today’s gonna be really good, if B finally comes home. He’s been gone since last Friday – and he’s gonna get a *major* sniff-down when he finally shows back up!

Murphy sez: You got that right. I mean, at least he left us with J – she feeds and walks us, so that’s important. But it’s never a good thing when a pack member goes missing, and I can’t believe J’s been so calm about it. B had better show up today – the place just isn’t the same without him (and we’re severely lacking in treats here, despite J’s effort to keep things normal)!

Mica sez: I’m sure he’ll be home as soon as he can. I mean, we’re leash candy, right? Who could resist these faces?

There is no squirrel apocalypse coming, Murph.  Yes there is, Mica!

There is no squirrel apocalypse coming, Murph.
Yes there is, Mica!

Vacation Report

This whole “not planning” thing is crazy hard for me. Even now, I have my planner beside me on the arm of my couch like a security blanket, just in case I decide I can’t stand it anymore and must make priorities, a list and a schedule for the day before I can possibly go on. I have to wonder if I’m doing myself any favors by fighting it so hard, or if it might be better to just give in and schedule my afternoon so I can stop worrying about *not* having a schedule/getting things done…

It may happen yet. I’m not really relaxing if I’m stressed over trying not to be stressed. How ironic is *that*, anyways?

So far, I’ve done a pretty good job of taking it easy though. I visited with the guy who does my tattoos on Friday, and set up an appointment for Aug. 6th to get another couple of pieces done on my left forearm. The first forearm tattoo was a pretty big step – kind of a commitment to having visible tattoos – to being a “tattooed person”, rather than a person who has a few small tattoos in easily hidable places. I mean, I can still keep my arm covered, of course, but I tend to push sleeves up constantly – I’m not fond of fabric pulling around my wrists for any length of time – so the forearm tattoo was a pretty big step for me. I love it, and every time I look at it, I feel like it’s *supposed* to be there. Like that’s who I really am, and what I want my skin to look like.

The rattlesnake on my forearm.

        The rattlesnake on my forearm.

I realize that sounds crazy to a non-tattooed person, but that’s okay. I would never, ever try to convince anyone to get a tattoo…and no tattooed person I know would ever do that either. It’s very much a “make a wise decision for yourself” sort of community, because it is a permanent body modification, and no one should do that unless they’re absolutely certain it’s what they want. For me, tattoos are definitely part of who I am, and there are many more in my future.

I also finished a knitting project yesterday – a pair of fingerless gloves I’ve been working on for several weeks. I’ve been struggling with thumb gussets because though I’m right-handed, I knit left-handed (it just was more comfortable for me to learn that way – flexibility is a good thing), so I had problems translating that part of the pattern from right to left-handed techniques. And I can’t even tell you how proud of myself I am for having figured that out on the second glove. The gusset looks and fits much better, and it seriously took me a lot of youtube video help and reworking make 1 stitches to finally get it right. The harder something is to master, the more pleasure we get when we manage, right? It’s certainly true in this case, and while it was incredibly frustrating, I’m glad I stuck with it.

Just gotta clean up the ends on the last one!

                                  Just gotta clean up the ends on the last one!

I also started reading a new light mystery series this weekend themed around a tattoo shop. Tattoos on the brain, I tell ya. They’re quite addictive, and when you’re ready for that next “hit”, they’re on the mind a lot. I’m not sure whether I’ll finish this series or not (it’s four books), because it’s written in first-person, and I typically have trouble getting into stories from that perspective. But I’m working on writing a short story that’s first-person at the moment too, so who knows? Maybe that particular preference is changing for me. It would certainly expand both my reading and writing potential if it did…

The short story I’m working on is for a celebration of Frankenstein’s 200th birthday – a bicentennial “dare”. Kind of a fun little project that I need to finish by the end of the week, if I want to enter the contest. It’ll be under my alter-ego Alex’s name – this sort of thing is right up her alley.

I also registered a new domain name this weekend – spent an absurd amount of money for it, but it will be the home of my dog’s new blog & site, once I get it built. That’s on my mental list of things to do before Friday, and a fun project, methinks. More on that at the end of the week…

Now, I really need to get off my butt for awhile – I’ve been sitting too long already today. I need a yoga session, and then some housecleaning, methinks, before I sit down at the computer again.

Maybe I’ll just make a quick little list of priorities for the afternoon first…

Gone to the Dogs: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

MMSleeping

Mica sez: Today’s post is gonna be a little late, on account of B had to leave really, really early this morning (before 5am early), and J was up nearly all night getting last minute things done for him. But we’ll have a new post up later today. *yawn*

Murphy sez: *snore*

 

Just Saying No…to a List-Driven Vacation

In four more days, I’ll be “on vacation” for a week. My vacations are often spent at home – I don’t travel much because I’m mostly a homebody (though I do enjoy myself on the rare occasions I leave the city – but I hate the prep it entails, and need a fair amount of recovery time when I get back). My husband will be out of town on his own vacation (playing pool in Vegas), so the dogs and I will be left to our own devices for seven whole days.

It’s gonna be great. 🙂

Normally when I take these vacations, I get excited about all the stuff I can get done. Household projects we never seem to get to, “resets” on things that have just gotten out of hand, or stuff I’ve been working on, but never seem to make any headway with. I make a huge list, and plan every day out to the hour, and by the time the week is done, I’ve gotten quite a bit done, but never as much as I thought I would, and I’m just as tired and in need of “recovery” as I would be if I’d traveled.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing the very same thing. I need to get to “this” – but I’ll wait and do it during my vacation. I really should do that, but since I have vacation coming up, might as well do it then. Need to make this and this and this appointment – I should just make them for that week I’m already off work. You get my drift. And see the problem too, I bet.

This weekend I was really gearing up, and sat down to make a list, and…that’s when it hit me. My vacation week does not have to be “pre-loaded”. And it’ll certainly be way more fun and relaxing if it isn’t!

When my husband and I travel, we don’t make big plans for what to do once we are wherever we’re going. Unlike a lot of people, we might have an idea of things we’d like to do, but we pretty much just play it by ear – do what we feel like on any given day, depending on how energetic or tired we feel, we sleep in, and stay out late, and generally have a great, relaxing time. It’s draining for both of us to be around a lot of people for any length of time and my husband loves to just be spontaneous, so we leave the routines behind and just “go feral” for the time we’re gone.

It occurred to me that my “stay-cations” would be far better if I did exactly that. Treated them like an “away” vacation, where I just do what I happen to feel like doing on any given day, and don’t set a strict agenda or force myself to try to get a bunch of things done. If I get stuff done that would normally have to wait, that’s great. If I don’t, well, no big deal – if it’s important, we’ll find time to get it done eventually, and if not…then it’s not important enough for me to bust my butt getting done on vacation time.

If I feel like spending an entire day reading a book (not that the dogs would let me, but just go with it), I do not have to feel guilty in the least for doing so. If I wake up one day and decide I want to clean and reorganize the bathroom, I can do that too – but not because I feel obligated to work on my “list of things that never get done that need to get done while I have time off”. If I wake up and decide to watch three more episodes of Game of Thrones, and then decide I’m tired of sitting so I may as well clean out the shed on the patio – no problem. Maybe I’ll decide an hour later that sitting was way more fun, open a draft in progress, and write until the dogs remind me I need to feed them, and should probably feed myself while I’m at it.

I’m a planner by nature (obviously), and very routine-driven, and the idea of not planning out every second of my vacation for maximum gain strikes me as somewhat irresponsible…maybe even wasteful. So it’s uncomfortable for me to adopt this “just go with the flow” attitude. But I know I’ll be glad I did when my vacation is actually restful and stress-free, rather than busy and packed full of expectations that I can’t possibly meet, ensuring a heavy dose of guilt at the end before I go back to work.

I’m just saying “no” to a list-driven vacation. Which means I should probably think about working the stuff I’ve been “saving up” to do during said vacation into the confines of my normal routines, eh? No reason/excuse to procrastinate now…

Gone to the Dogs: Two-Wheeled Sneaky-People

Sun-tannin' on a lunch break...

                             Sun-tannin’ on a lunch break…

Murphy sez: There sure are a lot of sneaky people riding those two-wheeled contraptions around lately, don’t you think, Mica? Seems like they come out of nowhere on our walks, and mostly from behind us. What’s up with that? Are they trying to scare us? ‘Cause it’s working. You’ve been pretty skittish lately when we’re out…

Mica sez: I just wish I could hear them coming, ya know? It’s kind of freaky to be walkin’ along, minding my own business, and then boom! Out of nowhere, there’s someone right beside me! On wheels! They’re like ghosts, I tell ya. It’s not natural. It really shouldn’t be allowed.

Murphy sez: I don’t think they mean us any harm. I mean, most of them seem nice. They smile, and sometimes they say hi. But it is a bit unsettling. I prefer those to the noisy kind though. Especially those little tiny ones with super-loud high-pitched engines. Too much like a dirt-bike to me. I was ready to chase that one dude down the other night. He really got on my nerves. If I hadn’t been on a leash…

Mica sez: Yeah, I noticed. J had to stop us twice so you’d quit pulling so hard on your prong collar. Lucky for her you had that on too, or she might have ended up face-first on the pavement. You get excited about the strangest things, Murph. That guy didn’t seem any creepier than anyone else to me. Just noisy.

Murphy sez: He could have been a perfectly nice guy, for all I know. But I hate his bike, and want it to die. Which is different from the kid we see on the other street sometimes. I don’t care if he’s on a skateboard or a normal ol’ bicycle – I hate that guy. If I ever get a hold of him, it’s not gonna be pretty.

Mica sez: Aw, you shouldn’t hate people, Murph. What did he do to you, anyway?

Murphy sez: Some things are best left unsaid, Mica. That dude had just better stay on his side of the street, is all.

Say, speaking of people being out of place, do you think that old golden retriever got home okay?

Mica sez: If J remembered the right yard to tell the nice lady who picked him up, I bet he did. Didn’t see him there tonight, but hopefully she got him home. She seemed nice – that lady who had him in her car. Paw-bumps to her for helping the old guy get out of traffic and un-lost!

Murphy sez: If he’d been wearing a collar and ID, it would have been lots easier. She wouldn’t have even had to ask J if she knew where the dog lived. But so many dogs around here don’t even have collars. Why don’t people keep ID on their dogs, Mica?

Pretty tag collar!

                                    Pretty tag collar!

Mica sez: I guess some people just like a challenge, Murph. Even with a microchip, it’s a heck of a lot easier to just make a phone call or knock on a door than it is to find a microchip reader and get scanned. Maybe we can think of something to do to raise awareness of how important it is for us four-leggers (and tripods!) to have ID on us at all times. Wanna do a contest this fall, Murph?

Murphy sez: That’s a great idea! We’ll have to talk to J about it and see what she says. Maybe she’ll buy us some swag to give away. Collars and ID tags would be cool, right? Like…a collar and leash wardrobe?

Mica sez: Yep – and I know just the thing for ID, actually. But I think we should try it out first, right? It’s the responsible thing to do. We’d better go find J and tell her our plan. There’s some stuff we need her to order. Hey, do you think we should ask for our own web site?

Murphy sez: Yeah! That would be totally cool.Maybe we could be famous! And it’s probably time for some treats too, right? I mean, it’s always treat-time somewhere…

BoneTired

On Food, Cooking & Meal-by-Mail Services

Ooo…that last one got your attention, didn’t it? Meal-by-Mail, you say? What the heck is that?

Allow me to enlighten you…

I love food. I love eating, and cooking, and fresh ingredients that are local when I can get them or fit it into our lifestyle (note: we live in Montana, so if we *only* ate local, our diet would be pretty limited/boring after awhile, especially in the winter). I’ve mentioned that I hate menu planning, and I’ve finally made peace with the fact that I’m never going to just sit down and plan out a full week’s worth of menus the week before. And definitely not before going grocery shopping – how would I know what produce looks good on any given week if I don’t go to the store first?

Oddly enough, I like to grocery shop (about the only kind of shopping I actually enjoy). When you enjoy grocery shopping, and don’t enjoy menu planning, it’s kind of a recipe for regular budgetary indiscretion and seriously overstocking the fridge with perishables.

I should probably mention I’m not all that fond of budgeting either. Though I am rather fond of paying off debt…but that’s a whole ‘nuther post. The fact is I *can* budget, but I often don’t unless I’m working to pay off or save for something specific.

In any case, I spend a lot more on food than I need to, and considering there’s only two of us, I end up wasting a lot more than I should. Fresh produce, mainly – meat never goes to waste since I can pop it in the freezer, but fresh fruit/produce often goes bad before I can freeze it (and some can’t really be frozen with good results, obviously). No, I don’t have a good composting solution in place. That’s a whole ‘nuther post too.

Enter companies like Blue Apron, Home Chef, and a plethora of other new/trendy “meals-by-mail” services. The geniuses who started these companies decided they could get people cooking and fix the problem of too much food waste all while making restaurant-style profits for themselves. They basically do the meal planning for you (like any of several meal-planning services out there), but they take it one step further and send you all the ingredients – exactly the amount you need for each meal depending on how many people you’re cooking for – and charge you an average of $9.99 per meal to do so. You get the box with the amount of meals/recipes you signed up for, follow the recipes, and voila! You’re cooking at home, eating healthy (depending on what you get), and paying…well, quite a bit more than you would buying in bulk for the same meal, but without the potential wasted extra food from bulk.

As I said, it’s around $10 per meal, per person, so it’s not cheap, but it’s no more than going out to eat either (less in many cases). I wish one of these services would have it set up so that you buy the meat, and they just send everything else, as I prefer to buy/eat local meats (Montana = excellent home-grown meats). And there are the ever-present philosophical arguments about supporting your local stores over a mail service, carbon footprints for having things shipped in (if I were going to worry too much about that, my Amazon Prime membership would be the bigger issue), and the extra packaging for the bits and drabbles of things sent with the orders. All of which are good arguments, but I think sometimes depending on your personal situation, things even out in the end.

Typical three meal Blue Apron delivery.

                       Typical three meal Blue Apron delivery.

I ordered boxes from both Blue Apron and Home Chef, so I could compare the services. I have to say, I’m impressed with both of them. Blue Apron is more of a “foodie” service…they’re not so concerned with health as much as good, tasty meals (though they are very concerned with sourcing things responsibly, and they’ll take all packaging back for recycling too, which is excellent). I have to say, I’ve made four meals from them so far, and the only one that was just mediocre included couscous (which I’d never made before), which neither of us had tried, and it wasn’t bad tasting, it just sat really heavy on the stomach. Everything else has been very good, and they pride themselves on never repeating a recipe in a year. That’s a pretty big departure from my limited weeknight repertoire. Their smallest order is three meals for two people, but of course you can order more for larger families.

We’ve gotten just one Home Chef box so far, but both meals were simple and very good. The packaging is a bit nicer with Home Chef, as everything is packaged together for a meal rather than separate plastic bags for each item – which means less packaging waste. Also super-easy to find in the fridge – just grab the bag marked with the meal you’re making, and the meat (if there is any) and you’re good to go. Blue Apron’s ingredients are a bit more segregated, but still, no big hardship to grab, by any means.

Home Chef two-meal delivery.

                             Home Chef two-meal delivery.

Home Chef’s smallest order is two meals for two people which is nice (though you will pay shipping for anything under $50), but they also offer a smoothie-per-week add-on that’s $5 per person, and a breakfast option as well, which is kind of fun (haven’t tried that yet – might later though). Our first box was just the 2 meals option, but I added the smoothie pack on for the next orders, as that will be a nice change for one breakfast per week.

Both companies send big, full-color recipe cards that not only have pictures of each step of meal preparation, but also includes the nutrient and calorie information. We’ve been keeping pretty careful track of our calories lately (and losing weight – hooray!), which requires a lot of math and estimation when figuring out the calorie count for homemade meals. So it’s a huge time saver to make a recipe with everything already measured out, and know exactly how many calories are in it without doing all that extra work. Saves me a good 15 minutes reading labels, making lists, and adding/dividing numbers. Plus, I don’t “cheat” with the portions just to avoid wasting leftover food, because with these pre-portioned meals, there is no waste.

Every week, each company lets you know when the next menu is ready, and you can go in and choose from several different meals if the ones they choose for you aren’t to your liking. But the selection is still limited enough that it’s not something you’ll agonize over, and you can only get certain combinations. That works great for me, because it forces me to just glance over it, substitute one or two meals if there’s something included we don’t like, and leave it at that. Both services also let you skip weeks, so you aren’t locked into the weekly thing – you could just do once a month as a fun thing if you wanted.

I’m really enjoying them at the moment – it’s fun to add new dishes to the mix without having to buy, say, a whole bottle of fish sauce or black bean paste just for one new recipe. And it’s nice to have several meals already planned and shopped for with an incredibly small amount of effort on my part – takes a lot of the “what do I feel like eating/cooking tonight” stress off without the added stress of sitting down to actually menu plan. My husband will be gone for the last week in July, so I’ve already skipped that week in the Blue Apron account, but I’ll go ahead and get the Home Chef delivery which will give me four meals since it’s just me, and two smoothies – and I’ll still get fresh produce for the week, where I wouldn’t be able to buy that in such small quantities just for myself at the grocery store without wasting a fair amount.

These won’t be for everyone, obviously, and who knows how long I’ll subscribe, but at the moment, it’s a fun, stress/hassle-free way to try a bunch of new things and keep track of calories more easily. If nothing else, by the time I’m tired of it or these companies go out of business, I’ll have a bunch of new recipes and cooking styles/methods/taste profiles in my wheelhouse (In one and a half weeks, I’ve already tried several things I’d never cooked with before, and used a couple of cooking methods I hadn’t used before as well). That’s a win-win, I’d say.

Now I’m hungry…

Gone to the Dogs: Booms & Greens

WhatFireworks

                               Fireworks? What fireworks?

Mica sez: I don’t know how you do it, Murph. You slept through most of the excitement last weekend. Didn’t you hear those pops and bangs going off outside? I swear, we were under attack, and you slept through nearly the whole thing!

Murphy sez: I dunno. I mean, I did wake up for those big booms – those were kinda freaky, and shook the windows. But there were loud ‘splosions on TV too, so the rest just kinda blended in with those, I guess. I have good anti-anxiety spray too, remember? In fact, I’m pretty sure J rubbed some on your ears so you could calm down too.

Mica sez: That stuff is awesome. I was like, totally chill after that, dude. Well, mostly anyways. I don’t know what those loud bombs are, but I want them to all go away. Forever. It’s bad enough that the neighbors won’t stop slamming their car doors, but all these little pops and crackles are just too much! And J says there will be more tonight due to some relay thing they’re having down the street. It’s enough to make a dog go mad…

Murphy sez: Maybe these won’t be so bad. And there’s always my happy juice to get you through. You just need to relax, man. Be chill. Chew on a bone. It’s all good. Hopefully the weather will be good enough to walk, and you can get some exercise. You get kinda pouty without your walks, Mica.

Hedgehog

Mica sez: I have a lot of energy to burn! I mean, we pretty much sleep all day, so we gotta get some exercise at night, right? You never seem all that enthusiastic to go though. What’s that all about?

Murphy sez: I’m pretty happy just to knock around the house and yard. All that walkin’ is hard work, and wears me out. It’s kinda stressful too, with all the traffic going by and people passing on the sidewalk or in the street. I don’t know how you deal with all that and then come home and stay up for several more hours chewing and playing. I’m out for the night the second we get home, pretty much. ‘Cept I do wake up for pineapple. Because yum.

Mica sez: I sleep all day, so I’m up all night! You’re more of a day-dog though. When the folks are home during the day, you’re up until 3pm or so, and then you’re snoozin’. I’m a night dog – I sleep all day, and I’m ready to play at night. Guess we have different preferences just like humans do, eh Murph?

MicaEars

Murphy sez: I guess so. I don’t mind sleeping in though either. As long as we get our breakfast early. Mmm…breakfast. Do you think J’s gonna make more treats soon? ‘Cause I noticed we’re getting low, and the green beans are completely depleted from the freezer. It’s kind of an emergency – frozen peas just aren’t as good. Maybe we should remind J to go to the store after work?

Mica sez: Or we could just wait until grocery day on Sunday. I mean, I like frozen beans as much as the next dog, but peas are good too. Sweeter, anyway. Just harder to eat, with our big mouths. Still, good for treats! I bet she is gonna make treats tomorrow. Hopefully she’ll let us lick out the bowls…

Murphy sez: Maybe she should just let us pick our own treats out of the freezer. I mean, there’s lots of good stuff in there. Some pork chops, and steaks, and I’m sure I smelled bacon…

Mmm...treat dough leftovers...

                                Mmm…treat dough leftovers…

Mica sez: Now you’re making me hungry, Murph. Knock it off! It’s kind of a long time until dinner. Maybe I’ll go snack on some of J’s roses. Those are pretty good, if you haven’t tried them. I don’t think J likes me eating them, but I don’t know why. They’re healthy! And they make my breath smell good. You should try one. Just leave some for me.

Murphy sez: Nah, I’m more of a greens kind of guy. But I could go for some grass about now. Mmm…dewy grass. Definitely time for a snack…

SleepyMurphy


Tune in next week for more Murphy & Mica! Or subscribe to get us in your inbox – use the subscription link in the right sidebar and pick “Gone to the Dogs”. Like these posts? Consider a donation to our favorite charities – the shelters that helped us when we needed it most! 

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Gifts, Knitting/Crocheting & Stored “Stuff”…

To all my US peeps, Happy Independence Day – a day late. I have to say, it was quieter this year than most, which was a really nice change. We watched a couple of loud movies that drowned out most of the smattering of neighborhood fireworks throughout the evening, and I gave Mica some of Murphy’s anti-anxiety spray. Between the two, the dogs came through without too much undo stress.

In any case, I’ve been thinking about Christmas(?!) and gifts lately, probably because I’m working on knitting a pair of fingerless gloves (a kit I got in one of my monthly yarn packages) and I got another package of silk sari ribbon yarn a few days ago that reminded me I want to crochet gift bags out of the ribbon yarn I’ve been amassing.

I wish I was a better knitter – I’d love to make sweaters for everyone one year. But I haven’t been knitting long enough to be very good at it yet, so it’s gonna be awhile before the sweater thing happens. I can crochet them, but the texture of crochet isn’t quite as nice for clothing (in my opinion). I just need to knit more…practice makes perfect, so I’ll keep working at it. In the meantime, I have some crochet gifts planned (that I dare not mention just in case) for this year – I just need to get started on them. And I’d really like to make a few more pairs of socks, just to get better at it. Learning different techniques might help too. You never know when you’ll come across one that just “clicks” and makes everything that much easier.

And those gift bags. I have all this lovely sari silk ribbon “yarn” from Darn Good Yarn – a company that sources all their products from women in India who need work/money (so I’m happy enough to support it) – and it will make perfect gift bags if I just grab a large hook and get to work. They won’t even take that long – I just need to get to it.

Another thing that had me thinking about all of this recently is a project I’ve started to clean out our storage unit. It costs $100 a month to rent (a little over, actually), and a good chunk of the stuff in there is mine from when we got married and moved into this house. Nearly 12 years ago. I was using the storage unit as a “temporary” place to keep things while I packed up my old house and sold it, but somehow I never got around to actually bringing the stuff from storage to the new house. So there it’s sat for all this time, along with a bunch of other stuff from when hubby moved in. Which is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.

For the foreseeable future, I’m bringing one box home from the storage unit per week. It has to be dealt with before Monday morning – so either I have to make room for the “stuff” at our house (preferably by getting rid of other things), or I have to get rid of the stuff in the box. And when I go get a box, I scope out the remaining stuff so I have an idea of what’s coming up soon, and can plan for how to deal with the next things I need to bring home.

Like a big batch of jigsaw puzzles, or…a huge tote or two of yarn that I inherited from my paternal grandmother when she passed away. I want to keep both – the puzzles I’d like to put together, and also the yarn, which is quite lovely and good quality fiber. And most of it was meant for use with a knitting machine (I inherited that as well, but gave it away), so it’s very thin, which makes it much better for knitting than crocheting. Another good reason to get better at knitting.

Also another good reason to get to work on more Christmas gifts and gift bags. All that yarn needs to go somewhere, and it can’t stay there. Which means it needs to come to the house, so I need to clean out my yarn stash to make room.

I was going to punctuate this post with pictures, but it’s late, I didn’t get around to taking them yesterday (or I’d have posted this then) and I need to head for bed about 15 minutes ago so I can get up for my favorite staff meeting tomorrow. So…pics will have to wait for another time. Stay tuned…

Gone to the Dogs: Life’s Little Pleasures

MurphAndHedgeHog

Murphy sez: Hey Mica, that new hedgehog we got is as big as my head. Do you think I should chew his nose off first, or his toes?

Mica sez: I don’t know about you, but I’m going for the stomach. That’s where those weird chattery sounds come from. Not quite a squirrel, but not like a squeak either. What is that, anyways? And are hedgehogs normally that big? I can barely get my mouth around it…

Murphy sez: It sure is fun getting mail, isn’t it? I had that giraffe’s ears and tail off quicker than J could eat dinner. Though she’s slow, so that doesn’t mean much. But still. Got a hole in him already too. I don’t get why J doesn’t want me to eat the stuffing though. Isn’t that what it’s there for?

Mica sez: Yeah, I don’t think so. I don’t know how you can eat that stuff anyways – it’s pretty dry. I just leave it on the floor. Like dry, warm snow. My stomach had enough problems this week, but it’s all J’s fault. Not sure why she thought she could get away without making treats last weekend, but all that freeze-dried meat is kinda rough on the digestive system after awhile. We didn’t even get to walk on Wednesday night ‘cause I was sick! Geez.

Murphy sez: I don’t know why you have such a sensitive tummy, Mica. I can eat anything just fine. Even those bones I found in the street on Tuesday night. It was kind of embarrassing when J pulled them right back out of my throat when we got back on the sidewalk. Sheesh. I was just cleaning up a little. Didn’t even get enough of a taste to tell if it was rabbit or chicken. Huh.

PupJoy_June16

Mica sez: You know you’re not supposed to just eat stuff off the street, Murph. We’re not that desperate, and you never know what you might catch. J says we’re not supposed to eat anything without her permission. But somehow I doubt you’ll remember that the next time a stranger tries to give you treats…

Murphy sez: Stranger, schmanger. If those little girls riding their bikes by last night and callin’ us cute wanted to give me treats, that’s fine by me. I’ll risk it. I’m tough. And so is my tummy!

Hey, what do you think J meant when she held up that bottle out of our Pupjoy box, and said she was gonna take us out on the patio this weekend and make us smell like u-calypt-us and lav-en-dar? Was that cologne? ‘Cause I don’t think I need cologne…

Mica sez: I think she might have been talkin’ about baths, Murph. Honest to goodness baths with water and everything. Which means she’s lost her mind, and we’re gonna have to fight for our lives. Maybe she’ll forget. Or get too busy. I hope she gets too busy.

Murphy sez: Hey – we still don’t really have many pictures for the post this week – and they’re mostly me. What gives? I thought we talked to J about that?

MurphStretch

Mica sez: I think she’s workin’ on it. There’s this thing called Pawscam coming out – it’s new. Cameras for our collars, Murph. She’s gonna order them next week (they go on sale July 5th), and they should be here in September. Then we’ll get to take the pictures – even on our walks! Fun, right?

Murphy sez: But September’s a long ways away – she just needs to get her butt into gear and take more pictures. Or we’ll give *her* a bath. Sheesh.

Mica sez: Yeah, yeah…you’re right. I guess I could cooperate a little more. I don’t really like that flashy thing pointed at my face, but…

Murphy sez: Our fans need us, Mica. Ya gotta cooperate.

Mica sez: Shush, you whipper-snapper. Just ‘cause you got another link added to your prong collar for walks, and you get to leave your legging off for longer times now doesn’t mean you’re all that. Just you wait until I start getting video of you rolling around on the floor like a total weirdo. Then these guys will know what you’re really like.

Murphy sez: A cute and funny cuddle-bug, you mean? Nothin’ wrong with that, Mica. Maybe they’ll give me more treats…

Mica_Murphy


Tune in next week for more Murphy & Mica! Or subscribe to get us in your inbox – use the subscription link in the right sidebar and pick “Gone to the Dogs”. Like these posts? Consider a donation to our favorite charities – the shelters that helped us when we needed it most! 

Murphy’s shelter: Donate to The Rimrock Humane Society
Mica’s shelter: Donate to Help for Homeless Pets

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Mondays, Tuesdays, Social Energy, & Whining

I could tell you that Sunday just got away from me which is why this post is so late. Or I could tell you I opted to watch another episode of Game of Thrones instead of writing this post earlier Sunday evening, and then I started on a different topic and decided to hold off on that for one more week, and then I needed to sleep (because I am human, after all), and then work, and then dinner, and then dog walking, and then a very broken half-episode of Six Feet Under (we gave up…our internet connection was just not working well enough tonight)…

So, yeah. Monday’s nearly over, it was kind of a long day at work, I stuck my foot in my mouth a couple of times (yes, proverbially speaking…I’ve never been *that* flexible), and felt marginally better when a woman we were passing on our walk around 8pm tonight inadvertently wished us “good morning” (we both laughed). Out of all the things on my list to-do today, I got exactly zero done.

This is kind of odd for me – normally my Mondays aren’t all that bad. Tuesdays are my “bad” day – it starts with having to skip yoga and get to work early for a staff meeting first thing, which packs a one-two punch to a night-owl introvert like myself. I have nothing against staff meetings, generally speaking, but first thing in the morning it’s a pretty serious drain on my social energy to have to interact with so many people when I’m not even really awake.

I was talking with someone today about social energy, and this person is far more of an extrovert, so interacts with the world much differently than I do. I will avoid elevators whenever possible – not just because taking the stairs is healthier, but also because I hate being stuck in small spaces with people I don’t know well. Having people I do know there helps take the edge off, but it’s still an angsty situation for me – enough that I’ll avoid it 99.9 percent of the time even if I know my “cell mates”.

I have to kind of psych myself up for things like meetings and even informal gatherings. Not because I dislike them, but because it takes a lot of mental energy for me to function somewhat normally in a crowd of people. And afterward, I need quiet time to sort of “recharge” – which isn’t something easy to come by in a lot of situations, so the energy just keeps getting drained and I’m lucky to have anything at all left at the end of the day.

Alas, I’m tough. I can take it. But occasionally, I have to whine just like everyone else. Luckily for everyone else, too much whining drives me nutty, so I try to keep from driving myself crazy.

And with that, I’m off to bed (yes, the writing post will be late too). Next time, we’ll talk about something more fun. Like food!