Rinse and Repeat
September 17, 2008, 12:37 pm
Filed under: daily, Pittsburgh | Tags: , , , , ,

So I started writing an entry about how service workers judge patrons/customers. If you are sweet and charming you are far more likely to get what you want, have rules bent for you, etc, than if you are an ass. In most situations, we are willing to give you what you want already, and you remove that opportunity by treating us like a stinking pile of poo.

Then I realized that that’s kind of like writing about how adorable puppies are, and how roses smell good. Nobody gives a crap. It’s boring.

And then! Then I realized that I’m boring! I have absolutely nothing interesting to say at the moment. Life is good, school is chugging along, and that’s all she wrote. I am officially sick of the election. Me! I know, right? I would be happy if we could all vote today and call it a day. Nothing much is going to change in the next 6 weeks, and we all know it. The swing voters who will decide the election will do so by choosing almost arbitrarily the morning of.

So, I got nothing.

SO! I thought I would regale you with my totally boring life! Welcome to a day in the life of KATRINA.

6:00 am: Bear’s alarm goes off. The dog jumps to her feet, ecstatic to finally be starting the day. PLAY! PLAY PLAY PLAY! Bear eventually rolls out of bed after much nudging and goes downstairs to do whatever he does in the morning with the dog. I go back to sleep.

6:45 am: Bear comes back upstairs and gets dressed. Katie pounces on me and licks me until I wake up.

7:00 am: Bear leaves for work. I take Katie out in the back yard. She used to need this time to say good bye to him and accept that he’s leaving for the day. Now she ignores him in her pursuit for bunnies. And then she poops, next to the fence. Always next to the fence.

7:05 am- 7:30 am: Breakfast eating time! I have a cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea with cream and sugar, and a bowl of cereal. Katie spends this time either terrorizing me by barking, getting into things, chewing things, and making me chase her around, or by sleeping soundly on the sofa. Lately, she’s more likely to do the latter rather than the former, PRAISE BE TO JESUS. I also watch the Today show and read The Internets.

7:30 am: Katie and I go upstairs so I can get dressed and she can watch me (pervert!) while laying on the bed. She exceeds her normal cuteness, and I spend at least 5 minutes fussing over her on the bed. Nom noms.

7:45 am: I get my things together for the day, make sure I have my keys, ID, and lunch.

7:50 am: I put a swipe of peanut butter in Katie’s hollow bone, and put it in her crate. She then goes into her crate willingly. Long gone are the days of fighting her! PRAISE BE TO JESUS.

7:55 am: I head out the door, and walk 2 blocks to the T station. I won’t tell you which one, because then it would be pretty obvious where in the Bustling Urban Metropolis of Dormont I live.

8:00 am: I arrive at the T station, show the nice T station lady my ID and wait.

Between 8:01 am and 8:06 am: The T arrives and I board it.

Around 8:30 am: I arrive in downtown and head to my bus stop. I pick up the next bus going to Oakland, usually one of the 61s or 71s.

Around 8:50 am: I arrive in Oakland. I then do one of a few things:

1. I go to class. This always occurs in the SIS building because I am a library student, and that is where we reside. That picture makes it look SO MUCH cooler than it actually is. It’s actually hideous, and sitting in it for class reminds one of being in a prison bunker. Only colder, with desks.

2. I go to work at Hillman Library lending desk. It is there that I slave for 25 hours a week, checking in and out books, retrieving reserve books, and loaning laptops. I also read The Internets, eat some food, and people watch. Oh, and homework.

3. I do school work some place on campus that is not class or work. This is rare.

Then, I go home. This happens one of two ways.

1. I take the 44U bus directly to Dormont. I do not take the bus/T backward to go home for a few reasons. They all boil down to IT IS TORTUROUSLY SLOW AND AWFUL to do that. The whole city of Pittsburgh is constantly under construction, including the new entrance into Oakland of Blvd of the Allies/Forbes/Fifth. That messes up traffic big time. Also, Fifth Avenue is the only way from Oakland to Downtown. Fifth Avenue is a one way street to Downtown with 1 bus line going in the opposite direction of traffic. Being on a bus in the bus lane going from Downtown to Oakland is awesome because there is no traffic. Being in a bus in traffic going downtown sucks because, well, there is traffic. It has taken me over an hour to go from Oakland to downtown via Fifth Ave in rush hour hours all day. Oakland and Downtown are about 2 miles apart. Yuck.

However, the 44 U bypasses all of that by hopping onto Blvd of the Allies and taking the Liberty Bridge/Tube combination and going straight to Dormont. Yay!

2. Bear picks me up. This happens rarely, but always on Tuesdays because I work till 9 and he is in Oakland anyways teaching the drumline. We then take 376 W to the Fort Pitt Bridge/Tunnels and head to Dormont.

Once at home, I cook, clean and serve my man like a good housewife always should. This usually occurs while watching mindless TV (Jon and Kate + 8, Scrubs, That 70’s Show, etc). Sometimes video games are played. The dog is usually chased around. I read The Internets. Fun videos like this are viewed and laughed at. Insert grocery shopping, doggie walking, financial adviser meetings, dog washing, gas buying and bill paying at random and you have a normal day.

Around 9 or 10, I take a shower. I use Tresemme shampoo and conditioner and whatever liquid soap I have around. I sometimes dry my hair. Then I sit around in my bathrobe until it’s time to go to bed, which is usually sometime after 11 pm. I pee one last time, brush my teeth, floss and put hand lotion on. If Bear is not ready to go to bed when I am, he and Katie come up with me and we all cuddle for a few minutes until I kick them out. They come up to bed later, after Katie pees for the final time. I have no memory of this, and can only surmise that they do in fact come to bed, since I find them there in the morning. By this time, Katie is usually completed exhausted and adorable.

“And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again

Jackson Browne, ‘The Pretender’


Dear Doggie
September 11, 2008, 10:44 am
Filed under: Dogs | Tags: ,

Dear Katie,

You are now about 11 months old.

We shaved your fur and it’s starting to grow out again. You’re still super soft.

We’ve noticed that the hair in between your toes is longer than the hair on your toes. It is also brown. I like to pull it up so it looks like your toes are exploding fur. You’re not a fan of this.

You’re getting better every day. Today, for instance, you crated yourself. I put a swipe of peanut butter in your bone and set it in the crate. I then went to get something, and you were sitting in your crate, looking at me all, “why are you surprised? It’s time for my nap.” I thank you for this development, this new love for your sleeping time away from us Humans. Two months ago I had to wrestle you into the crate, and then you spent the entire day barking and howling miserably.

You still don’t like being left alone outside of the normal workday schedule. If someone leaves the room, you follow them, Miss Nosy Pants. If we leave you alone during a Not Normal Alone Time, you are unhappy. If we leave you alone outside, you bark piteously. You pace constantly and fret if Bear and I aren’t there, or if we leave you at his parents’ house.

Unless we leave you there with a new bone. Then it’s ok.

I’m starting to see a pattern here, Miss Katie. You clearly like the bones more than you like us. Either way, I know that a lot of the separation anxiety comes because not one but TWO separate families took you in, and you loved them, and then they left you at the animal rescue league. We are your third family. The rest disappeared, what’s to say we won’t?

We won’t. So, please, stop the pacing.

You were a stray, and then adopted by 2 families who returned you, citing you first as “untrainable” and second as “too rambunctious”. You are not untrainable. You were just a little puppy for those first owners! You can sit, shake, lay down, come (sometimes), leave it, go in your crate, and get off. (Get off means don’t jump up on me, not any sort of sexual pleasure, you sick perverts). Unfortunately, you are stubborn and willful, and if you don’t want to do one of those things, you won’t.

We are working on this.

You are rambunctious. You are a puppy, and you are part border collie, which means you have a lot of energy. Bear runs you for 45 minutes most days, and that merely takes the uppermost layer of asshole off of your behavior, but you’re still an asshole until you’re tired, and even then you can be an asshole. You steal things you know you shouldn’t have just to get us to chase you. You bark incessantly at people walking by and the other dogs in the neighborhood. You chew on things. You generally get into mischief. You are still very much an asshole.

Speaking of assholes, you are firmly against anyone sticking anything in yours, including an anal thermometer covered in KY jelly.

I know you’re a lot of work, and I know that I get frustrated with you and yell. But I appreciate that you’re making an effort to be better. When you apologize by laying down next to me when I’ve hollered at you, and gently nuzzle and lick me, I know you’re trying to be a good girl. When you’re sleepy and turn into a puddle, it’s all I can do to not chew on you. When you get so excited you almost pee (but not as often anymore! You seem to be developing bladder control! Keep doing those Kegels, girl!) when you see me at the end of the day, it warms the cold, cold cockles of my heart.

So, thank you, little puppy, for sleeping on my feet and digging your elbows into my shins. Thank you for entertaining yourself in the early morning when you wake up before we do, by chewing on your bone. Thank you for not fighting with being crated and left all day. Thank you for snuggling up against me. Thank you for sitting on my lap. Thank you for licking my face, even if it’s gross.

And keep on resisting anal penetration!


The Female Human

Who needs heels?
September 5, 2008, 9:29 am
Filed under: Current Events | Tags: , , , , ,

My mom has an extra vertebrae in her back. If I was a med student, I’d probably be able to tell you which one. But I’m not. I just know that it’s one of the big ones in her lower back, so it actually adds quite a bit of height. It also gives her back problems. Just like dachshunds have problems because they are a long tube perched on stubby little legs, my mom is a long tube perched on even longer legs.

This is probably why she’s 6 feet tall.

When you’re 6 feet tall by age 14, and a girl, your teen years are pretty hard for you. She towered over everyone. To top it off, she was in high school right around the development of Title 9, so her high school was actively trying to build up girls’ sports. Like basketball. If you were a basketball coach trying to build a girls’ team, and you saw a 6 foot tall girl walk past you in the hallway, you’d probably piss your pants with excitement, too.

Too bad this woman has fallen off a curb, standing still, stone-cold sober, with nobody near her. She doesn’t possess the grace of a gazelle, let alone the reflexes of a cat. She works out ferociously at the gym, and she ran cross-country until I was born, but neither of those things require contact with other people, or, God forbid, flying objects. She was not meant to be a basketball player, despite the extra vertebrae. The coach was understandably disappointed.

But, as most people do, she outgrew high school. She took her time, but she grew into her height. Now, when she grunts and groans in her aerobic weight lifting classes, she’s doing it to protect her bones as she ages, so she doesn’t lose even a centimeter of height.

She married a man who is 3 inches shorter than she is. Consequently, she produced a daughter who is 4 inches shorter than she is. She picks on me for it, but she always reminds people that her wise grandmother told her when she first hit her height that she should think of her daughters: don’t marry a tall man.

It takes guts to be married to a woman that much taller than you. It takes self-assurance and grace to be comfortable around someone that much taller than you. She judges people, particularly men, based on how they react to her height. Due to her job profession (administration in social work) she is in contact with Suits a lot: doctors, lawyers, local and state politicians, various High Ups in State Government. Many of these people, mostly men, are offended by her height when she soars over them. They stand up straighter. If they could surreptitiously stand on a stool, I’m sure they would. Holding the higher ground is necessary to their self worth.

Essentially, their egos smart from it. A tall woman is an affront to their sensibilities. Women are supposed to be subservient, short, and silent. These men are Big and Powerful and Important, and their height shows that. Even if they say they believe in equal rights, and women in the workplace, they certainly don’t want to have to look up to them, figuratively and especially literally. This reaction is a weakness in my mom’s eyes. One ought to have enough self-confidence to not be unended by a tall woman in the room.

Why am I talking about this?

Obviously, it’s because my mom is totally awesome.

Actually, it’s because of Sarah Palin.

I have been closely following both the conservative and liberal reaction to her, through my Facebook friends and their status updates, and popular bloggers and actual pundits. The conservatives are drooling over because, well, she’s hot. Oh, and she hunts. And she’s hot. She’s a hot hunter!

The liberals have taken a turn for the batty. I can understand them disagreeing with her: she is a conservative Republican, and they are liberal Democrats. The disagreement is part of the definition, and that’s understandable. I disagree with many things that Joe Biden says and does, but you don’t see me getting my panties in a knot over him. Obama was going to pick an old, Catholic, white man with a long track record in Washington. Joe Biden makes sense for that. My disagreement with his policies doesn’t make me angry that Obama picked him.

To take Palin’s positions and say, “Look! She’s conservative! And Republican! AND WE HATE HER MORE THAN WE’VE EVER HATED ANYONE BEFORE BECAUSE OF IT!” is a really strange leap of logic. You are allowed to dislike a Republican because of their views. You are not allowed to point to her views and declare her worse than everyone else. Nor are you allowed to say, “Republicans, you deserve so much better. You’re so screwed up because you picked Palin.” If Republicans agreed with you… well, they’d be Democrats, wouldn’t they?

I guess what confuses me the most is the loud fervor of their hatred. Obviously, Democrats would have disliked anyone that McCain picked. But it just seems so strange for them to be so riled up.

Perhaps, like my mom, a woman like Sarah Palin is an affront to their sensibilities. She has more executive experience than any of the candidates combined, even if it was ‘just’ as mayor of Wasilla and governor of that state that is on the other side of Canada. She got where she is without having to marry Bill Clinton. She got where she is despite marrying young (probably knocked up, no less), despite having a passel of babies including a late-age Down Syndrome baby, despite having a knocked-up teenage daughter, and despite not being part of the Washington political culture. Her success up until now is not because of anything; it is in spite of those things. I do agree that McCain picked her over Jindal because of her plumbing, but before this week, it’s been all her.

She is female and is still pro-life. She is female and she still hunts. According to the Democratic mindset, she is an aberration, because women are always pro-choice, and they are always part of PETA and they are always in lockstep with the party line. Her presence plus her success are a surprise and affront to everything they believe.

Just like the Suits who stand up straight and are consternated in my very tall mother’s presence, these people are consternated by the very presence of Sarah Palin on stage.

Now, I’m not saying that Sarah Palin is going to cause McCain to win. I still think this is a Democratic year, and I’m more surprised than anything that Obama isn’t doing better than he is. He ought to be sweeping it, and he’s fighting to stay in the lead.

I do think Palin just made a grand entrance onto the political stage, and win or not this year, she’s going to be around for a long time.

I wish that the liberal voices would stop yelling so much about her. You’re not making any sense. We already know that you don’t agree with her: screaming about it isn’t changing that message. By hating someone purely because they have political differences with you that everyone already knew about, you just make yourself look ridiculous.

Don’t lose sleep over Sarah Palin. Your behavior? You’re doing it wrong. It’s making us judge you, and you look ridiculous. You’re no better than the men who are offended by a woman taller than them. It’s nothing you can change, and having a smarting ego over it is a sign of weakness and lack of self-assurance.

Reading Is Sexy
September 3, 2008, 12:21 pm
Filed under: Current Events, daily | Tags: , ,

I have nothing to say about Sarah Palin that hasn’t already been said except for this: thank the Lord someone else is totally rocking the librarian glasses chic. I needed someone else to start the trend outside of:

1. Libraries.

2. Hipster culture.

3. Hipster librarians.

Now, I have a VP candidate! Rock on. Any thoughts beyond that would be superfluous, because I refuse to honor the insanity that is left-wing bloggers and under(read)graduates by saying anything at all. Go librarian glasses!

Speaking of librarian glasses and hipsters, I am such a loser in library school. Other than the older women who are coming into libraries as a professional change, I am the squarest of the squarely squares in my classes. I wear skirts too much, I have a thing for pearls and other pretty jewelry, my nails are pink or red or unpainted, and I tend to match. If I don’t match, it’s usually an accident. My hair is a boring bob, parted on the left side, no bangs or frills or dye. I rarely even wear makeup, and when I do, I try to look like I am NOT wearing make up.


But, as The Illustrious New York Times reported, libraries are hipster chic. And they are usually super liberal. And they are usually super liberal activists. And they are usually wayyyy cooler than I’ll ever be.

The article states:

“When I was in library school in the early ’80s, the students weren’t as interesting,” Mr. Block said.

Since then, however, library organizations have been trying to recruit a more diverse group of students and to mentor younger members of the profession.

“I think we’re getting more progressive and hipper,” said Carrie Ansell, a 28-year-old law librarian in Washington.”

So. Progressive equals hip and interesting. Conservative equals unhip and boring.

Well, I’m not going to lie. I actually laughed out loud when I saw the crowd shots at the Republican convention. Lots of vaguely overweight, very white, mostly bald men! The stereotypes are so true it’s hilarious.

But hey! I have a blog! That’s so in! I am one step closer to being an IN LIBRARIAN!

In other news, my uterus is still vacant. I took my first pregnancy test the other day. The hospital issued ones come with no directions. It was confusing. I managed to screw up the first one by peeing on the wrong end of the stick. And it’s literally JUST a stick. No markings, no nothing. So I peed in the little cup the study gave me and just stuck a 2nd little stick in there.

Regardless: only one pink line! I win! Although, not quite, because I managed to screw up peeing on a freaking stick.

Beggars can’t be Sleepers
September 2, 2008, 1:02 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags:

We have a begging problem. Living with Katie is kind of like living in Oakland all over again. This dark creature lurks in the corners, sometimes smells a little off, and gets up in your face about sharing ‘the wealth’. However, she’s more interested in getting food than in getting money. Whereas the average pan-handler will refuse a sandwich, because peanut butter and jelly won’t get them a hit of crack, the average puppy dog refuses a dollar bill because highly processed cellulose doesn’t quiet the HUNGER BEAST.

Katie is generally a nosy stalker as it is. If you get up, she gets up and follows you. What are you doing? Are you going to feed me? What about now? Are you going somewhere? Can I come with? You’re going upstairs? I’ll come along. You need company. What are you doing in the closet? Can I see? Is there any food in there? You’re going back downstairs? Ok, I’ll come with. I’m going to run into your legs as you walk down the stairs. Wasn’t that fun? Are you going to eat something? Can I eat something?

So when you do bring out FOOD, she’s all up in your face about it. Occasionally, when she’s really being an ass, she yips and barks at you. She’s all, “give me your food, bitch!”

If she were an Oakland beggar, she’d be cited for aggressive pan-handling by the Pitt Police. It would be written up in the police blotter in the Pitt News and everything.

This weekend, we exhausted the poor animal. On Saturday, she went to the football game pre-game festivities to watch the marching band and drumline perform. That was a 4 hour walk for her, filled with lots of people to see, lots of sniffs to smell, and lots of children to pet her. At one point, she had a line of small children waiting to greet her. Like she was the Queen of England or something.

On Sunday, we went to Bear’s parents house where she ran around like a crazy person. She ran on that grass like grass was going out of style.

On Monday, the day she normally Recovers From The Weekend When the People Exhaust Her, Bear instead took her to Oakland to the annual drumline softball game. Another 4 hours of being adored and sniffing and darting around like a flea on crack.

These events compounded while I was eating beef stew the other night. She began begging. We have restricted her begging to SILENT and DISTANT. She may attempt to use her puppy powers to will us into giving her whatever it is we are consuming, but she must do it away from us, and she must not make noise while doing so. She broke one of those rules by resting her chin on the armrest of my chair, staring at me with the force of a well-practiced interrogator.

I was about to shoo her away and scold her for begging when I noticed that her eyelids were beginning to droop. Intrigued, I paused to see what would happen.



Her eyes closed and she fell asleep, her chin still resting on the armrest. She wavered and tipped over to the left. She caught herself before actually falling. She then pretended that it didn’t happen, and promptly curled up in the corner and fell fast asleep.

Moral of the story? A tired puppy is a good puppy, but an exhausted to the point of near-drunk puppy is a hilarious puppy.