Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Am I, Exactly?

Shauna, do not say "strange".
I prefer.... "quirky".

Anyways, I've been thinking.

If a woman is a mother and blogs about her children, shes called a Mommy Blogger, right?

Well, I don't have any children and I doubt that I ever will. If I do it probably won't be for a long time.

So, instead of children I have my puppy, Cooper, and I do blog about him on occasion. Okay, I've been blogging about him a lot lately. I think I may also have a tendency to anthropomorphize him a little bit, but what else am I supposed to do? He's my baby boy.

Since I blog about Cooper, does that make me a Doggy Blogger?
I'm okay with that, because he is quite the character and his antics provide me with quite a bit of blog fodder.

Cooper is an absolute sweetheart. He wants to play with everyone he meets, and thinks that everyone is his friend. The perfect example was his follow up visit with the vet a week after he was discharged.

We walked into the waiting room and had a seat while waiting for the vet to be available. After a couple of minutes another client walks in, a breeder of miniature schnauzers. She has a laundry basket full of seven seven week old puppies.

Cooper about lost his damn mind wanting to play with them. Since Cooper had just gotten over such a horrible virus, and these puppies were not yet vaccinated (thats what they were there for), I didn't want to risk him possibly still having some of the virus on him somewhere (yes, I recognize that I can be a bit of a hypochondriac. More on that later) and potentially contaminating seven puppies so I told him "sit".

He was pretty good, but sat there staring at the puppies and whimpering. For the most part he stayed in the sit position, but more than once he lifted his butt about an inch off the floor and slowly started scooting over to where the basket of puppies were, like I wouldn't notice him edging his way towards them if it appeared as though he was still sitting. I would tell him to sit again and he would sit back down, but he was whimpering as though I was asking him to do the most painful thing ever. Like it was Sophie's Choice or something.

Once we got into the exam room, Coop was happy to see the vet, remembering him from the previous week. The vet checked him out and deemed him recovered, then it was time for his vaccinations. Two of them for rabies and distemper.

With each vaccination, Cooper yelped from the needles, but after each vaccination he turned around and kissed our vet on the face. He just wants to love everyone he sees.

This is why I can't have him near the front door when I walk out of the house.

If he is near the front door when I'm leaving, and the stray cat that I feed on our front porch is within his line of sight, he wants to go play with her. Naturally she assumes that he's going to chase her so she takes of running and he runs after her so that they can play.

Do you have any idea what its like to chase a black puppy down a poorly lit street at night?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Steve, I Think We Need To Take a Break

Don't worry, it's just a break. I'm sure that we'll get back together one day. I'm just not certain of when or under what conditions.
However, I'll be honest because thats the least you deserve. While we're on a break I'm seriously considering nailing the cheap copy girl like Ross did on Friends.... and by "nailing the cheap copy girl" I mean buying an affordable PC Notebook.

We were doing so well and going so strong for such a long time, but in the past six months things seem to have just fallen apart.

First, there was the iBook and kPod situation. That was a rough patch to weather through.

Then there was the PowerBook incident. I'd like to pretend that that whole situation never happened.

Now, I'm afraid to say that we've reached the third strike.

I started doing more photography this past year, did a wedding, a few portrait sessions, and had TWO photography shows (granted, they were at a coffee shop and not a gallery or a Second Saturday event, but they still count).

With spring rapidly approaching, I decided that I need to pursue the photography business more aggressively. This is the perfect time to start appealing to the brides to be and high school seniors. In order to do this, I'm going to need a system that has Photoshop on it. My old iMac desktop (5 years old as of last month) is currently running on Mac OS X Version 10.3.9. In order to be able to install Photoshop it needs to be running on Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. Simple enough of a dilemma to remedy, right? I go to Fairfield, borrow my aunts OS X 10.5 installation discs and bring it home.

I spent almost an entire weekend trying various attempts to update the OS on this blasted machine. I tried restarting the machine while holding Command+S and then entering different commands to prompt the system to check and repair all folders and drives (all of this while on the phone with my aunt who is a whiz at all things Mac and plans on becoming an Apple Certified Tech in her retirement). Everything checked out fine. I bought a laser lens cleaner and ran that through a few times as well in the hopes that it was just a dirty lens issue. That didn't help either.

The only thing we can figure at this point is that the entire disc drive needs to be replaced. If you look at my recent history with Apple products you can understand why I'm hesitant to throw money into a 5+ year old machine which I'm afraid will die on me any minute. But, without looking into that, theres no way I can upgrade the OS which means no Photoshop, which means to photography jobs.

I would LOVE nothing more than to be able to drive to the mall, go into the Apple Store, and walk out with a new MacBookPro. Unfortunately, recent vet bills have depleted my finances. MacBookPros start at $1,999.00. I went online and built the MacBookPro of my dreams:
17" Anti-Glare display
2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
320 GB Serial ATA @ 7200 Hard Drive
pre-installed Aperture 2 software
AppleCare Protection Plan (seriously, with my recent history with Apple products, I'm thinking it might be worth it)
Want to guess what the total comes to???
$3,597.00 before tax and/or shipping & handling.

I can get a Gateway notebook for around $900. True, its not comparable to the MacBookPro of my dreams, but its still over $1,000 cheaper than the cheapest MacBookPro which starts at $1,999.
Do I want a PC? Not necessarily. I would like to maintain my loyalties to Apple. I just can't afford to at this time.
My hope is that I get the PC notebook and put Photoshop on it so that I can start working the photography biz and line up some weddings, rake in the cash, and be able to get the MacBookPro of my dreams in the future.
I may get a PC only to have it underline and strengthen my love for Apple, or it may work like a dream and pull me away from Apple forever. Only time will tell.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Has it been two weeks?

I can't believe its been two weeks since I last posted.

Final Cooper update - he is doing incredibly well. He could stand to put on another pound or two but aside from that you would never know that he'd been so sick.

Since he needs to put on a smidge of weight, I've been giving him lots of fauxreos and he's gotten so spoiled with this treat that he just eats the cream filling and leaves piles of cookies that are licked clean. If I have the audacity to give him a cookie that does not have a cream filling he sniffs it, licks it once, pushes it aside and gives me a look of disdain as though hes saying "Where the F are my fauxreos, mom?"

The only other sign that he's been sick recently is that he is shedding like crazy. He's never shed much in the past, but in the last week or two everything I own has become covered in a fine patina of his fur. The lint roller industry is loving me right now. I'm beginning to think that I'm their personal bailout package.
I did ask my vet about this and he said that it is common for this to happen after an animal has had a viral illness such as parvo.

Since I am so financially strapped after the vet bills, Christmas was on the meager side. I really only bought gifts for my 19 month old niece and my 8 year old cousin. For a few of the other family members, basically all of my older cousins and my sister, I made a sugar body scrub that is SO incredibly easy to make. I really wish that I had measured the ingredients out so that I could write a complete recipe for you here. Basically all I did was take a large can of pumpkin pie filling and mix it with sugars (both regular granulated sugar and sugar in the raw)until it was quite thick, then I added a little sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil (available at natural food stores). The drawback to this recipe is that since its primarily natural ingredients it does need to be kept refrigerated and I would estimate that it would only be good for about a week. If I get good feedback on it I may try to replicate it, taking note of the measurements this time, and post a complete recipe here.

I had started to knit a sweater for my mom, but didn't get it completed in time... I just finished the back of it today and still have to do the front and the arms. Plus, now that I've finished the back its looking like it won't fit my mom. I'm thinking its more my size. Whoops. Thats what I get for working without a pattern OR swatching ahead of time.
So, I've started the front just an hour or so ago. Why am I working on a sweater that might be for myself when I have so many other craft projects to do? No clue. I am the Queen of Procrastination.
On my craft to do list:
Necklaces earrings and bracelets - I have a friend whos daughter is in her sophomore year at UCLA and is on their fencing team. Last year she went to Europe for a number of tournaments and her dad bought about 2 dozen necklaces that I had made for her to take to give as gifts to their hosts and members of the other team. They were so well received that he's asked me to make more for her to take again this year. I think I have about 2 weeks to get all of these done.... and I will have to dig out all of my beading and jewelry making supplies.
Baby stuff - I have a couple of baby afghans, hats, etc to make for a certain little bun in the over. One of which will be an original pattern that I'm considering entering in a pattern contest that carries a grand prize of $1,000. That would be sweet to win.
Miscellaneous projects - in an effort to pay off the vet bills and hopefully generate some of the cash needed to purchase a new MacBookPro (so that I can pursue my photography business more aggressively) I've decided to set up a shop on Etsy. I'm not 100% certain of what exactly I will be putting up on their but I imagine it will include some of my jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc), knit and crochet goods (simple items that can be done quickly and at reasonable prices, like scarves, hats, tote bags, possibly baby afghans, etc), photography (prints, notecards, etc), and I'm considering a venture into soap making and may include some sugar scrubs.... but not the pumpkin one. I'm incredibly hesitant to put any perishable items on there. I'll blog it once I've uploaded some merchandise to the shop.

All this talk of fauxreos has me craving real Oreos and a glass of milk.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cooper Update

Emergency Vet visit = $851.08
5 days at the regular vet = $947.62
Total = $1,789.70

having my baby boy home & healthy = priceless.

Also, a lesson to all on the importance of staying on schedule with vaccinations.

Cooper came home today. He finally ate a little for the vet last night & is showing signs of wanting to be playful, but he is still low on energy.
While he does still have diarrhea, its not quite as bad as it was just 2 days ago. Heck, its better than it was last night.
Next week, we go in for the remainder of his vaccinations. NOTHING will keep me from that appointment.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Professor RB Cooper

A few months ago I introduced you all to my baby boy, Professor RB Cooper.

Cooper has been a huge joy to me for the past few months, and I fall more and more in love with him everyday. Seriously, he is a total and complete clown who makes me laugh at least once a day... but more about that later.

Despite how much I cherish and adore my Coop, I got behind schedule with his vaccinations and this past Monday evening I came home to find him very obviously sick. My first fear was that he had possibly come to the same fate that my dog Maddie did this past summer.
I called my mom and she came over and took us to the Emergency Vet. I told the vet my fears and they had another idea. After taking some samples from Coop there in the lobby, she had us go into an exam room. Cooper has contracted the parvovirus.
I admitted him to the emergency vet for the evening so that he could start the treatments he needed right away and the next morning I transferred him to my family's regular vet - Foothill Farms Veterinary Hospital.
Dr Malek and his entire staff are beyond phenomenal. The care that they are giving Cooper is amazing, and they are so personal and attentive. All week I have been calling several times each day to check in on Cooper, and they never get annoyed. Each time that I call someone goes to the room that Cooper is in and interacts with him so that they can give me an update of not only the medical issues that are on his chart but also that of his demeanor as of that moment.
In fact, when I called this afternoon I talked with a tech that I had not yet met or spoken with and when I said I was calling about him her response was "Coopers my cute little guy!" They take such a personal interest in the care of the animals that are brought to them.
They're also not uptight about their hours. While their office closes at 6pm, I don't get out of work until about 530. I still want to visit with Cooper every day, but with traffic I don't make it there until about 5:55pm. Each night they've let me in to visit with him, not once saying a word about the time, and each night I've stayed until about 6:30 or so. Still, they've never told me that its past their hours.
Cooper is making progress. We apparently caught this early enough, and with the care he's receiving its looking like he's going to pull through it just fine.
Visiting him is what I've been looking forward to the most each evening. Every time I see him he's looking better - has more energy, wants to interact with me more, and the best sign is how he tries to make a break for it when I open the door to his kennel. While he may not be out of the woods just yet, he's definitely improving well.
So, in the evenings I sit with him and love and cuddle him and sing this song to him... well, at least the parts I can remember.

Now, for some fun facts about Cooper.

His full name is Professor RB Cooper. He got that name because my aunt (who I got him from) recognized that he was the smartest of the litter and initially started calling him Professor. Then he was the first of the litter to figure out how to use the doggy door and would amuse himself by charging back and for through it... my uncle thought he looked like a rhino charging through the Serengeti so he started calling him Rhino Butt (RB). Finally, when I met him I just felt that his name was Cooper. There we have it: Professor RB Cooper. He has a few other nicknames:
Mr Cooperton
Lil' Guy (most often used by my grandma)
Cooper the Trooper (this is the newest, for how well he's coming through this ailment)

Cooper HATES baths. As you can tell from the following post-bath look of disdain.
After a bath he will spaz out (thats the technical term) for at least a full 30 minutes. He runs around the house, rubbing himself on the couch, every chair, my bed, before he collapses, exhausted from all of the spazzing out... as shown below:

One of Coopers favorite past times is going for car rides

But not too soon after eating... otherwise he'll get carsick.

And while I may be his favorite girl, Janae, my 8 year old cousin, is a very close second.

One of Coopers favorite evening activities is to lay at my feet while I'm on the computer

And he LOVES to go visit all of our friends on the back patio at the pub

All of the love & attention from everyone tires him out.

Coopers favorite treats? Fake oreos from the treat bar at PetCo. Or, as I call them, fauxreos. He likes to hold one down on the ground, use his teeth to pop off the top cookie, then he will lick out all of the cream filling before eating the actual cookies. One day I will capture this on video.

Coopers morning demeanor is dependent upon how badly he needs to go potty.
If he needs to go potty, he paws at my face until I wake up. Then he'll gently grab my hand with his mouth and try to pull me out of bed. Then he'll try to herd me towards the back door.
My favorite mornings are the ones when he doesn't need to go potty very badly.
He'll wake me up with kisses, and once I'm awake he'll lay across my chest in an attempt to stop me from getting out of bed.
I'll move him off my chest so that I can sit up, and he'll lay across my lap. He just wants to snuggle!
I'll move him off my lap and put my feet on the floor... he lays on my feet.
When I'm getting dressed and putting on my pants, and this is my favorite part, he'll jump up and try to pull my pants back down.
Apparently he knows that no pants = don't leave the house.

He is my love and I can't wait for him to be able to come home.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Things I Want to Make

It's that time of year.
The time of year where craft obsessive types, such as myself, are perusing the internet searching for projects. Specifically, quick, easy, and cheap projects that would make for welcome holiday gifts.
I found a number of projects this year, some of which I will keep in mind for the future. These are all ideas that I liked, but didn't quite make the cut for this holiday season. It's not due to them not being worthy, it's just that I had to limit the number of various projects so that I could keep supplies and time to a minimum.
Plus, some of them are impressive projects in their own right, but not necessarily holiday appropriate.

A few that aren't necessarily craft projects, but baking projects I stumbled upon during the search:

A moist yellow cake recipe. Not only do I want to try out that recipe, I also want to test the suggestion for keeping the cakes moist.

Also, I found this recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting. SOUNDS PHENOMENAL. I really wish I had found this recipe a couple of weeks ago. I would have made these for the baby shower of a certain friend who LOVES all things pumpkin.

This project made me a little misty eyed. My grandmother who passed away almost two and a half years ago had a thing for tea towels. I made her many over the years, and after she passed my grandfather found the remnants of one of the first towels I ever embroidered for her. She had been planning on framing it, you can see the piece thats left here.
These potato stamped tea towels are something she would have loved.

I found a number of coaster related projects this year.

First up, are these glass coasters.
These have a lot of potential. You could make them with the paper crafts shown in patterns to coordinate with the recipients decor, or interests, or they could be made with photographs.
I also like these mirrored coasters, although they are much more of a contemporary style than the glass coasters and that should probably be kept in mind when choosing who to make them for.
Last in the coaster category are these embossed clay coasters. These would be great for someone who is a writer, or just a lover of books. I can see these embossed with lines from favorite poems or classic novels.

Fiber related crafts.

First up, is this tulip cozy for little girls. I may try to drag out my grandmas sewing machine so that I can make this for my nieces birthday in May. I just wish I was a better seamstress.
Another project that makes me wish I knew my way around a sewing machine better is this fleece blanket. Fleece is so warm and cozy!
More sewing, this stacked ottoman.
Heres a fabric related project I might actually be able to tackle. The no-sew calico quilt.
Another no sew project... the crochet edged fleece blanket. I could do this one, its more crochet than sewing.
And since crochet is one of the crafts that I definitely have down pat, I'm sure I'll make this hat.
A knitting project that I would NEVER dream of taking on, this arm chair slipcover. I do not have that kind of patience.

I also found a couple of mosaic projects. Mosaics are something that I've never tried, but am interested in. I'm thinking that after finding a couple of these projects that I will try making them this next year. I think that my mom would like both of them, so they may make fitting gifts for her birthday in March and for Mothers Day.
First up, these garden stones. Mom has been working on a couple specific parts of her garden - one being right next to the cottage that she's turning into a massage studio and these would make for a nice addition to that area.
The second is this tray. Mom is a fan of the vino so I think a grape accented design would suit her well.

A few years ago I made something VERY similar to this next project - a Rosebud Memory Box. It was easy, and cheap, and I still see these boxes on the dressers and vanities of some of the women I gave them to. One little tip -- pick up some rose scented oils to dab on the roses, just an added little touch.

These Sparkling Votive Holders would make for easy and inexpensive gifts for someone wanting to add a little sparkle to their home.

The following two items would make great gifts for a housewarming party.
First is the bead wrapped serving spoon, then theres also the sparkling serving set. Both projects together, which really are basically the same idea just on different objects, would make a complete set.
Another potential housewarming gift would be these Tabletop Terrarium Jars. I would make one for myself, except that I have a brown thumb. I have killed every single plant I have ever bought, even ivy.
I wish I had a reason to make this Tree Branch Chandelier. The only home I can think of where this would fit well with the decor would be my families cabin up at Shasta Lake... where theres no electricity.

I'm big on bath products. I love indulgent bath oils and bath salts and bombs and fizzes and bubbles. That is why I know that eventually I will be making this Peppermint Stick Salt Soak.

For holiday decor I absolutely LOVE these Chandelier Ornaments. They look so delicate and elegant!
I also like these glitter words. I think they could look nice on either a tree or a mantel.

While I've done many various crafts over the years, I've never delved too much into paper crafts. Although I do think I will be trying to make this Groovy Greeting Card sometime in the future.

Finally, a craft I think I may try to make for myself... this Contemporary Photo Wall Art. I most likely will try this with some of my travel photography.

And for the last item. Something that scares the bejebus out of me. Something that I know I will never try to make simply because I know that I do not have the patience for it. It is beautiful, it is elegant, and it is frighteningly intricate. It is a three foot tall chandelier commissioned for Tiffany & Co. And its made out of paper.