Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven Months

What?  All the mommy bloggers do monthly updates!

I took this picture yesterday, Sunday, around 1:30 in the afternoon.  He looks sad because I would not take him to the dog park.  I would not take him to the dog park because his doctor gave explicit instructions:  he is to digest his food before we go to the dog park.  I had gotten home around 1pm and fed him.  We left for the dog park at 2:02.  Roughly.

I have said that he likes to run with the big dogs.  Really, he just likes to run.  Sometimes he is at the front of the pack and sometimes he gets body-slammed by the front of the pack.  I actually saw him come up limping twice yesterday, although the other time he wiped out all by himself.

I am happy to say that the only person he barked at was me.  First, because I was too slow in taking off his leash.  He was all, "Look!  All the running!  Hurry!  I'm going to miss it!"  The other time was when I refused to throw his ball.

I am starting to get a sense of when he isn't going to bring it back.

I am also happy to say that when there is a scuffle among the dogs, and I call him back, he responds.  I have a dissertation brewing in my head regarding the dynamics of the dog park, but I will spare you.  For now.

Suffice it to say that this is a dog that needs exercise.  For the next few months, he will continue going to Doggie Do Rite three days a week.  And I will take him for weekend trips to the dog park until I can't stand the weather any more. (It was a mass exodus around 3pm yesterday.)

We took him to fancy pet store on Saturday, after a trip to the vet.  He behaved nicely, even when the Boston Terrier snapped at him.  He is doing better with the coming when he is called.  Now we are working on "lie down".  He generally sleeps in my bed, but did fine with my mother and the cat when I was in Washington.

Hopefully, by next month, we will see the trainer again to help us out with "leash manners" and we will have settled on a permanent diet.  We will also be testing how long he can stay home by himself (Thanksgiving).

Ugh.  And it seems I have to make him a Christmas stocking.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lunchtime at Noodles

I went for an early lunch at Noodle's & Company in Arlington Heights before hitting the book sale at the Arlington Heights Library.  This particular Noodles is always filled with unsupervised children due to the movie theater around the corner.  Thus it is also the place that I learned (the hard way) to make sure the top of the salt shaker is secure before using it on my food.

So I ordered the penne rosa with parm chicken and, as is my habit, I ate the chicken first.  It was perfectly good.  Then I checked the salt shaker, salted the pasta and took a bite.  It didn't taste right.  Too much cream?  I took a second bite.  Beh.  Then I figured it out:

Someone had replaced the salt with sugar.

I took the bowl back with the salt shaker, explained the problem and asked for a new one, which I was given.  The staff was checking every salt shaker before I left.

Dear Arlington Heights, Illinois:

Your library is awesome.  Your kids suck.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle

Book 49

We generally have multiple copies of The Tortilla Curtain at the Used Book Store.  I figured that GBS must be teaching it in English class.  I figured that it was kinda like a One Book, One Chicago pick, where we all come to a greater cultural understanding at the end.  So I picked it up when I saw the audio book, read by the author.

Then I looked it up on LibraryThing, where the reviews suggested that it was more like The Grapes of Wrath.  Not possible, I thought.  The Grapes of Wrath was a million pages and this was a little trade paperback.

Southern California.  Two families: one prosperous white family in a gated community that is getting even more gated and one undocumented Mexican couple camping in the canyon with a baby on the way.

Yeah.  It was rather Steinbeck-of-the-modern-era.  Where stuff is bad at the beginning and it keeps finding a way to get worse until you can't think of how it could get worse and then someone is cooking a Siamese cat in a stew to feed his family.  And it gets worse.

There was a rather profound moral to the story with that motif of the fences both literal and figurative.  We love nature until it hunts our little dogs.  We love our fellow man until there are just so many of them and they are threatening our property values.

As the story built to the climax, I found it very cinematic.  However, the ending was very abrupt and with little resolution.  I wonder how Hollywood is going to deal with that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What the cupcake truck really needs...

2:00 yesterday afternoon, the cupcake truck was outside my office.  I went down to get one.  Two, actually, Stef was busy doing something.  It was raining outside, but not very hard.  My jacket is water resistant and I hadn't bothered to do my hair that day.  However.

I got to about third in line when two ladies in the front were debating what to get in their six-pack of cupcakes and one actually asked the guy whether a particular flavor is any good.

Because he was going to day "No"?

The cupcake truck needs a Soup Nazi.

People, I never liked Seinfeld.  I found the characters stupid and self-absorbed to the border of evil.  But Soup Nazi!

OK, sometimes he was harsh.  A one year ban is pretty serious.  But I believe that a guy can choose who he doesn't want to do business with and there is no law that says you can't discriminate against people that are pokey, lazy, indecisive or foolish.  Or kissing when they should be ordering.  Also, instead of catering to the lowest common denominator of customers, he took care of the regulars.  The ones that liked the food, knew the rules and kept the line moving.

I would totally patronize the Soup Nazi's establishment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Observation at the Airport

Now that everyone and her dog has a Coach bag (and I imagine they are making things for dogs now), the hipsters seem to be carrying Louis Vuitton.

Besides the fact that I don't get it - I find them ugly - I am under the impression that some of those bags retail in the four digits.  So.  How is this possible?  Multiple choice:

  1. The recession is a myth
  2. They are really good fakes
  3. The retail cost has dropped dramatically since I last paid any attention
  4. People have learned absolutely bloody nothing about managing their finances
Discuss amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And It Hasn't Changed a Bit

Back in Washington.  And for anyone who is new here, don't bother trying to break into my house because I do not live alone, I have a dog and I have ADT.

My cab was already parked out front when I came downstairs at 6am.  My dog did not make a fuss.  Traffic was fine.  My secret airport security line remained true.  I nearly forgot to take my bag o'liquids out, but never mind that.  Oh, and I gave the Stare of Death to a chick that tried to line jump me and she submitted to my authori-tay.  I had Auntie Anne's pretzels for breakfast and an absolutely perfect Diet Coke from the fountain.

I had an exit row seat and slept for nearly the entire flight.

My bag was first off the line.  My Metro train was pulling up just as I got to the platform.  I happen to be using the bag in which I last left my key to the DC office, which is double-cool because I really hadn't remembered where I left it.

I tried a new combination at the awesome Atrium Cafe deli and it totally worked.  The rain held off until we got back to the office. I had a few good meetings and checked in at the hotel where I have perfectly serviceable wi-fi.

I forgot my sunglasses, but you know.  It's always something.

The Travel Gods have smiled upon me and I am grateful.  All Hail, Gods of Travel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Political Rant

I've done some talking on this blog about my political identity.  I have referred to myself as a Cook County Republican, which means (to me) that I am a fiscal conservative and social liberal and can't abide The Machine.

The reality is that I am inching more to the left every single day. (Don't get me started on Rahm Emmanuel.)  

One day, in high school civics class, I was spouting conservative on something.  A friend asked how anyone as Pro-Choice as I could possibly be so Republican.  My response was,

"Roe v. Wade is over.  Decided.  Finished.  I don't need to vote based on that issue."

Even the teacher accepted that answer (although I expect he knew better).  But we all know the reality - conservatives have been chipping away at the decision for years.  And today I read this article about a court in NC blocking a law - a law meaning that a whole bunch of elected officials thought it was a good idea - requiring a doctor to present a woman seeking an abortion with:

  1. the ultrasound picture
  2. description of the features of the fetus
  3. the opportunity to listen to the heartbeat
Apparently, something similar happened in Texas, where the legislature required a woman seeking an abortion to listen to the heartbeat from the ultrasound.

On one hand, it is a complete outrage that state legislatures are pulling these stunts.  On the other, it is nice to know that the courts have it covered.

I like my judges liberal.  And if I have to vote for Democrats for the rest of my life in order to stack the courts...

I really hope it doesn't come to that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blankets 56 - 58

In between making scarves for my grandfather's church (more on that later), I am doing more fleece blankets:

This yellow one is interesting because it isn't strictly fleece.  The material was something like a light sweatshirt.  The yarn was a Red Heart from Penny's stash.  Four rows single crochet.

The pink was a straight up fleece.  The yarn was Red Heart - I think the name was "Candy Print".  Four rows single crochet.

I picked up this print fleece thinking that an older boy might prefer it.  The yarn was Caron Simply Soft in Soft Blue.  Four rows single crochet.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Harp, by John Gregory Dunne

Book 48

John Gregory Dunne was a writer.  He was also the husband of Joan Didion and the brother of Dominick Dunne.  Harp was a memoir that he wrote after two big, bad things happened in the late 1980's.  First, his younger brother killed himself.  And he was diagnosed with the heart trouble that would later kill him.

Joan Didion's book The Year of Magical Thinking was about the year after Dunne's death.  I loved it and I love her.  One of the striking things she remembered was Dunne saying, right around the time that he wrote this book I imagine, that it was a really strange thing to know how you are going to die.  She denied his statement.  He wasn't going to die from that episode.  But he knew that someday, it would come back and get him.

That's the guy I was looking for in this book.  And while he didn't speak so directly about his feelings - he isn't the type - I am happy to say that I found him.

He spoke a bit about the falling he and Dominick had at the time of Stephen's suicide.  John was an ass and then Nick was a big drama queen and it sounds like the kind of thing that happens in every family and you just want to smack them both.  Then he went on a bit of a European tour to find himself or whatever.

He started in Germany, where he served in the army post-WWII.  He went on to Ireland to find his roots or something.  He writes about it all in a very detached way.  "Observational" is the way he writes it.  He went so far as to say he was watching himself experience it.

There are a couple of times when he challenges the veracity of something just written.  He takes an "it is all true, in a way" attitude that bothers me.  I can certainly accept that "truth" is a matter of perception and he gets to remember and present his own experience as he chooses.  The self-consciousness, however, annoys me.  I guess it was a self-conscious time.

This was the first of Dunne's books that I have read.  I think the rest are fiction.   I can manage that.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Castle on the Forest, by Norman Mailer

Book 47

Norman Mailer was the kind of writer that liked to mess with your head and in his final novel, he outdid himself.  This is the most disturbing thing I have read all year.

Well, duh.  The premise is that minions of the devil watched and guided the Hitler family from even before the time when Adolf was born.  The narrator was assigned to the infant and tells the family story.

It is demented, as one would expect.  Although I wouldn't have thought as far as two generations of inbreeding.  Really close inbreeding.

Also, I don't know how I picked up a novel about Hitler being guided by the Devil's Minions without understanding that at some point, something terrible was going to happen to a dog.

Mailer pulled a pretty cool stunt in there, too.  He left the Hitler action to cover the coronation of Czar Nicholas II.  Because the minion was assigned to that, too.  What is even cooler is that the narrator said if the reader wasn't interested, he or she could pick up the Hitler action again on page 261.  I sure wanted to hear about Russia.  A shorter detour was later taken to the assassination of Empress Elisabeth of Austria.  The point is that Evil weaves it Evil Web at different times and places.  And it is patient.

I began losing some interest after the death of Alois Hitler, the father.  But the chilling epilogue said that after 1945, the Devil's Minions set up shop in the U.S. and began "investing" in both Israel and the Arabs.

It would not surprise me if that was what Mailer intended to write next.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Car is a Great Big Liar

For the first time in 94,000 miles, my car flashed her, "Dude, I'm running on fumes" light.  I was only a few blocks from my regular gas station, so I pulled in and filled up.

It was twelve gallons.

My car has a tank that holds 15.5 gallons.  And I know (because I read it in the manual once) that the "Dude, I'm running on fumes" light comes on when you are down to 1.5.  So I know (because I can do math) that I should have required 14 gallons to fill that tank.

I pulled out of the station wondering who was fibbing - the gauge or the gas station.

As it happens, my next errand was to pick up Gibbs.  Doggie Do Rite happens to be next door from my mechanic, so I stopped in and told my story to Bill.

"So,"  I finished.  "Who is fibbing?  Car or gas station?"

"Well," Bill said.  "The way I remember it, gas stations are highly regulated and tested on a regular basis.      The gauge on your car..."

I knew it.  I knew my car was a big faker-drama queen.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ridiculous Things from this Week

  1. USA Network. A commercial with Dick Van Dyke and the letters WWF in the corner.  I thought, "Why is Dick van Dyke promotin the World Wrestling Federation?"  #worldwildlifefederation
  2. Internet.  The number of "click on this link"s for "incredibly disturbing photos" of the Ohio animals.  I did not.
  3. Noodles & Company, Schaumburg.  One woman is sitting at a table for six, chatting on her cellphone, making notes on her leather-bound pad without so much as a Coke in front of her at the heart of the lunch hour.  Still there when I left.
  4. 10:00 p.m. lights out.  10:05 p.m.  Puppy starts squeaking on his squeaky toys.
  5. Anne learns that "Dude, seriously" is not a command that puppies understand.

Monday, October 17, 2011

You Can't Pose this Stuff

I tossed that toy up on the bed on the way to the shower.  This is how I found my dog when I got back.

Choosing the Right Puppy Chow

When I adopted Gibbs from Wright-Way, his regular diet was Fromm's puppy food.  High quality stuff but pricey, and worse - not readily available in my local stores.  I could buy it directly from Wright-Way, but that involves driving eight or ten miles and nothing resembling regular retail hours.  So I started to research:

I knew I wanted to feed him a quality product. was my primary resource.  It looks at bunches of different pet products and reviews them based on the ingredient list.  Then it is open to consumer reviews.  You can search by product name or skip to the "best of" lists.  I looked at the four and five star products.

(Note:  ProPlan, which I recall my vet saying was a perfectly acceptable food when I had my last dog, received only two stars.  Disconcerting since ProPlan cat food is the only thing my cat will eat.  ProPlan Select, however, received three stars.)

Next:  Again, I don't mind paying a bit more, but accessibility is an issue.  I do a lot of online ordering, but I really feel more comfortable knowing I can just swing by the store and pick up a bag of dog food.

I settled on Blue Buffalo Puppy food.  Four star rating, sold on and at PetsMart and Petco.   Not cheap, but one of my three resources generally has a decent deal, so I've never paid retail for it.  Gibbs seems to like it and his poop has remained normal (sorry).

However.  After his post-surgical convalescence, Gibbs went back to Doggie Day Care and over did it.  Vomiting and lethargic.  The vet said that Blue Buffalo was a bit rich since he wasn't feeling well and sent me home with some canned food.

Fast forward to yesterday.  After a few very active days, Gibbs was napping yesterday afternoon.  He woke up and tossed his lunch.  I worried that Doggie Day Care plus weekends at the dog park were too much for him.  I called the vet.  She said that while Blue Buffalo is a high quality food, she would look at changing the diet as opposed to worrying about excessive play time.

So.  Back to the drawing board.

What are you feeding your pets?  And how did you come to that decision?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Prohibition, by Ken Burns

I finally finished watching Prohibition, the new Ken Burns film, on the DVR.  It was typically good Burns.  The story is told in three parts:

  1. A Nation of Drunkards
  2. A Nation of Scofflaws
  3. A Nation of Hypocrites
Glad we got that straight.

The most interesting thing to me was how the women's movement and the prohibition movement used each other.  And that when the time came to ditch this law, it was another women's movement that was right out front.  Also, that the institution of an income tax is a huge part of what made Prohibition possible.

We see the urban versus rural perspectives.  We hear the gangster stories.  Burns did make a point of showing the big soup kitchen built in Chicago during the Depression; built by Al Capone.  

Overall, this was totally worth my time to watch.  Last thought:

One of those interviewed at the end made an observation:

It was easier to get a drink during Prohibition than it is now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kiva Surprise

 Kiva - loans that change lives
One of the fun things about Kiva is that nice little surprise of, "Your loan has been repaid!"  My last loan was made to a lady in Senegal who, instead of repaying in increments, repaid in one lump sum at the end of the lending period.

So I went back online to find a new borrower.  And there are plenty.

I started simply reviewing the list as Kiva has it sorted.  Then I sorted for women.  You might find it unreasonable that I am only want to lend to women, but empowering women is a big part of the reason that I participate and if you don't like it then you can go online and lend some money to a man.
(Incidentally, my other outstanding Kiva loan is to a man.  I wanted to jump in when Kiva started lending in the U.S. and the women in the program were already fully funded.)

Then I looked at different parts of the world.  My first loan was to a lady in Paraguay and the second was a lady in Samoa.  I found several that appeal to me in Cambodia and settled on a lady named Sophat.  Her husband is a teacher and she tends to their farm, planting vegetables to sell for a profit.  Her loan is for the purpose of purchasing a hand tractor to plow the land.

If you are interested in the work Kiva is doing, please visit the website.

P.S.  In the time it took me to write this blog, Sophat was fully funded!

Friday, October 14, 2011

First Groupon

I joined Groupon a few months ago, and just made my first purchase.  At lunch today, a friend asked me about the process, so I figured I ought to write about it.


You register at the website.  Then Groupon informs you, by e-mail, of deals with businesses in the area.  You can also search the website if you are looking for something in particular.  It seems to me that many of the best ones are for restaurants and other personal services.

Chapter 1:

I received an e-mail saying that Asha Salon and Spa has an offer.  One hour massage and half hour facial for $82.


Asha is not my regular place by any stretch.  It is a very nice Aveda establishment, but rather pricey for my needs.  This deal was basically 50% off.  The catch with Groupon is that you pay for the service up front.  So there was no way I was waiting more than a billing cycle for my appointments.

After taking my credit card information, Groupon sent me an e-mail with an order number and redemption code.  It had a link to redeem it and was also printable.

Chapter 2:

I remembered that Asha is in Schaumburg, by my office (which is how I found it).  I hate staying in Schaumburg after work, so it was either drive out there on Saturday (rolls eyes) or take a half day off.

I chose the latter.

I went online to redeem the Groupon.  The instructions were specific that the appointment had to be made online - no phone calls to the salon.  Weird.  And worse, the website wasn't working for me.  I logged back on later and it was fine - I think it had something to do with the pop up menus.

Asha's web site asked me to pick three dates and times and they got back to me with which worked, and then I had to confirm the appointment.  All set.

Chapter 3:

I arrived 15 minutes early, per the instructions.  I was helped right away and led to the dressing room.  I had just stepped out the door when the aesthetician came for me.  Both appointments were great.  No one made me like less-than-a-full-fare-client, which I think is important.  (The travel industry hasn't picked up on that trick yet.)

When I checked out, the lady at the register asked for my Groupon certificate.  And that was it.  Pleasure doing business with you.

Note:  Tipping etiquette says that we should base our gratuity of the full price of the service, not the Groupon price.  I was familiar with the practice, but appreciated the reminder from Groupon.  However, by the time I got to the appointment, I had forgotten the full prices.  I knew the total was 50% off, but hadn't remember how much was for which service.  I may have skimped on someone.  Will know better next time.

Final Analysis:

I will certainly use Groupon's service again if the deal is right.  But I am still not inclined to go trolling the website searching for it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Summer Vacations I Haven't Done Yet

I was talking with a co-worker who is planning a vacation with her new husband.  They are thinking Boston.  Boston is perennially on my list of possibilities for Summer Vacations, but never quite makes the cut.  This year, I went to Disney with family.  That has happened a non-zero number of times.  And I always want to go back to New Orleans.

Over the last few years, I have crossed a few off the list.  South Dakota.  Toronto.  My employer sent me to Seattle three times, so I got over that.

But there are so many, many places I haven't been.  And so many, many excuses.  Here's my Top Ten (after Boston, I mean):

  1. Yellowstone - I don't even know how to get there.  And do they have wi-fi?
  2. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - You have to fly to Vegas and then drive five hours.
  3. Alaskan cruise - There are only about five good weeks to go and demand is high. $$$$
  4. Gulf coast -  Every time I think about it, I get distracted by the bright shiny object called New Orleans.
  5. European tour - I'm waiting for the dollar to come back.  Stop laughing.
  6. Grand Canyon - If I am going to head in that direction, Best Friends comes first.
  7. Mackinac - I live in Chicago.  I can always go to Mackinac.
  8. Civil War road trip - Seriously, gotta narrow that one down.
  9. Oregon - if I am heading in that direction, I might as well go to Alaska.
  10. Ozarks - If I went to the Ozarks before New England, the Rotondi sisters might kill me.
My winter 2012 vacation is booked.  But I'd better hang on to this for next summer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How Things Get Done in My House

Yesterday, at the doctor's office, I realized that I didn't have my phone.  I figured that I had left it on my desk at work.  This morning, it wasn't there.  I went back outside and searched my car.  Nothing.  So I called home.

My mother is in charge of the cell phones in my house.  Mostly because she wanted one about ten years before I did.  We figured out that our contract is just about up, anyway, so it wasn't a big deal to go get a new one.  And while we were at it, she wanted to add my grandfather to our contract.

He is still doing pay-as-you-go-minutes.

But before we do, she is going to go and check her car to see if my phone is there.

It was.

In ten minutes, I went from:



Oh, cool.  Getting an iPhone.


Damn!  I wanted an iPhone.

So you can guess what I did...

I ordered it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blankets 53 - 55

With nine days to go before the next Starbucks night, I have emptied out my fleece stash:

The above is Red Heart Super Saver in Royal.

Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn in White.

And more Red Heart Super Saver in Royal.  And now I am going to see if I have enough blue yarn left to make a scarf.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Real Thing, by Tom Stoppard

Writers Theatre's first show of the season was The Real Thing, by Tom Stoppard.  Michael Halberstam directed and Sean Fortunato was the lead.  Natasha Lowe played his first wife, which messed me up a bit because I haven't shaken her performance in Streetcar from my head yet.

The first thing I noted - tweeted, actually - was the music playing before the show.  (Intermezzo plays at intermission..what the heck is the term for the music that plays before the show?)  Anyway, it was ABBA.  Seriously.

But it had a point.  Fortunato plays a highbrow playwright and the action is the collapse of his first marriage and the subsequent marriage to his mistress.  Music is one of the themes used to compare and contrast artistic taste, talent and temperament.  

The playwright likes pop music.

Another thing that happened was that I spent the entire first act trying to identify the accent of one of the characters.  Fortunato does voices and accents really well and he was all seamless going from his English character to his English character doing a woman to his English character doing a Scot.  But I couldn't get a handle on the other one.  Then, at intermission, the guy in front of me said that Writers had better get a new voice coach because that one was slipping in and out of an accent the entire time.

Huh.  So that wasn't on purpose?  Well, if I even noticed, then it was a problem.

In any event, I very much dig Stoppard.  I enjoyed the art imitating life imitating art.  Except for that accent issue, I appreciated the acting.  

Pretty strong kick off, I'd say.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl

Book 46

Matthew Pearl's third novel spins a mystery of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the novel that Charles Dickens was writing upon his death.  The premise is that Dickens' U.S. publisher, a small firm in Boston, is on the brink at the time of his death and desperate to print whatever is left of the transcript.  There is a guy, a girl, drugs, murder and several red herrings. Pretty smooth.  But even so:

Pearl's novels take a lot of patience, in that they unfold very slowly.   Sometimes I enjoyed this one and sometimes lost patience.  The story jumps between two time periods and then over to India.  The latter seemed superfluous, but I went with it. know when you are reading a book and you hit what looks like the climax, but there are too many pages left?


I liked this better than The Poe Shadow, but not as much as The Dante Club.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Community Bark West

Almost from the day I adopted Gibbs, I have wanted to take him places.  I want him to grow up to be a well-adjusted, well-socialized dog.  It took forever before his immunizations were done, but then I started taking him to Doggie Do Rite, a day care center in Northbrook.  By the second day, he was running with the big dogs.  On the third, he was trying to make a labrador his girlfriend.

For various reasons - his surgery, illness in my house, my goofy schedule - I'm not quite where I want to be in his training.  He has no leash manners, selective hearing when he is called, and he barks.

Oh, how he barks.  

The ladies at Doggie Do Rite are fairly sure the problem is simply that he doesn't know enough people yet.  How, I wondered, do I manage to socialize a dog that refuses to behave in public?

Community Bark West.

Glenview's Dog Park is run by the Park District.  It is large, clean, fenced in and has running water for the dogs to drink.  It has walking paths and plenty of doggie waste bags and cans so as to clean up after your pet.

The rules are extensive, and one of them is that your dog has to be at least six months old.  Gibbs cleared that on Saturday.  We had a pass on Monday and went over tonight.

He was a bit barky at first, but as soon as the other dogs came over to greet him, Gibbs was all in the game.  He ran and ran and ran.  When I wanted to check out the walking paths, he followed me.  He greeted other dogs as they came around.  When I called him, he came to me.  Yeah, he jumped on people, but he barely barked again. 

And now, he is asleep. 

We love this place.  How awesome is Glenview to have built this?

The Park District charges a fee of $50 per year for a pass ($100 for non-residents).  You can find the application here.

We hope to see you over there.

Also posted on Glenview Patch

At Six Months

We almost have Gibbs into a routine.  He is going to camp three days a week, which means that three days a week he is too tired to cause any trouble at all.  He is still barking too much for me to be comfortable taking him out in public for real, and he has no leash manners.  But I just picked up a pass to Glenview's dog park, the Community Bark West.

I didn't name it, folks.

I know that he is perfectly socialized with other dogs, and am hoping that he will start to get used to seeing strangers, while he is playing with the other dogs.

He still isn't used to the football thing.  This is where he spent half of the first quarter:

I wasn't about to tell him not to soak up the sun while he still can.  He doesn't know what winter is yet.

Besides that, Game Day is a great big danger zone for the potty accidents.  Because he still isn't very good at telling me that he needs to go outside.  And I can't stop to ask him every ten minutes.   Not when Matt Forte could light it up on any given play.

No accidents yesterday.  Although Gibbs slobbered up half a bowl of water and promptly vomited up his lunch.

Puppies.  When do they outgrow that nonsense?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Parrot Week

It is Parrot Week at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  They have posted bunches of stories and videos.  This is a particular favorite of mine, since Baby does the exact opposite of what Kiwi the Grey does - I hang the toys and Kiwi tears them down.  Eventually.  When she feels like it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

About Trio and Vitriol

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Trio Animal Foundation, a group that raises funds to help homeless animals get the medical care they need.   A week or so thereafter, I received a rather scathing comment about how terrible they are, how I should research before endorsing such a group, and it is a sad day when Trio gets such support.  The comment referenced Trio exaggerating the circumstances under which a dog was taken into the program – a situation which Trio has already addressed on its Facebook page.  It is pretty detailed, so I won’t copy it here, but the entry is dated August 26 and it is good enough for me.

Also, the commenter wanted to “educate” me on how animals can be fearful.


The rest of the complaints seemed to me like the petty political things that sometimes happen in/between/among rescue groups.  Or any non-profit.  Or business.  Or neighborhood barbecue..when everyone has a better idea of how things should be done.

I considered responding.  I thought it over for a couple of days and decided against it for a few reasons:

First, there were no facts and references.  There weren’t even allegations that the group wasn’t spending the donations received on the care for the animals – which is what I care about most. 

Second, it was mean spirited.  I wasn’t about to debate with someone engaging in what seemed to be a personal attack.  I am not a representative of Trio – I simply posted on my personal blog that I like their work.

Finally, it was Anonymous.

At the same time, I didn’t want a mean-spirited comment sitting on my blog, so I deleted it.

So you can guess what happened:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Trio Animal Foundation": 

wow, so you think if you delete my comment it will not matter, just more proving you are not intellectual or wanting to help animals. do the research, trio has sponsered a dog name geiger who the president of trio adopeted but not long ago the same asked for extra donations to get help for the dog even when it was a dog in her care. Frank, it is neyond shafy you keep this post up on the mist questionable animal "non profit" agency in chicago. Your opinion should come with a warning about not being helpful just like trio's. Seriously do actual resarch before you give horrible organixations like this adverisement 

So here is my response:

Dear Anonymous:

Your opinion should come with your name.   And spell check.

P.S.  I have set up a project on Crowdrise to support Trio's work.  Here is the link.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Heartland Animal Shelter

Heartland Animal Shelter in Northbrook was featured on WGNTV yesterday.  I can't seem to embed the clip, but you can find it here.  And this is one of the puppies featured:

As if I need to be seeing any more Border Collie puppies.  I popped over to their website to check out the November 5 fundraiser and found that October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month - according to somebody.  I say that every month is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month, but whatever.  Here is how Heartland is celebrating it:

"To help promote adoption of Heartland's dogs, we are offering either a Carson Pirie Scott Dog Bed, a Dog Crate, or a Collar with Leash with each dog adopted (while supplies last).  Also, with each dog adopted, receive a raffle ticket for free admission for 2 to Heartland's Golden Paw Gala on November 5th (worth $150)!  Drawing will be on Oct. 31st.