Of Weezer, Garden Keg Parties, and the Best Eggnog in the World

There’s this song I’ve always loved, written and performed by Weezer before they were Weezer.  You know, back when they were just Rivers Cuomo and played songs in somebody’s garage and were probably being influenced by the old tools hanging on the wall.  The song was called Longtime Sunshine, I’ve listened to it countless times.  I’m listening to it now.

There is nothing especially beautiful about the performance, it’s actually rather brassy and sort of sounds terrible on a variety of levels, come to think of.  But the words ring true and deep for me, and musically I think it could have been a beautiful song.  Someone should do another rendition of it.  Please?  Or perhaps it is the messy, unfinished nature of the song itself that expresses what I connect to so deeply in the words. Maybe Rivers was brilliant.  Or maybe I am just thinking too much about things tonight.

Did you know River’s brother’s name was Leaves?  Yes, yes it’s true.

Leaves.

Random.

Just like this blog.

Welcome to my sleepy, curious and musing mind on this starry, tuesday night. How goes it?

This was the long and short of my Christmas decorating this weekend:

I had this little burst of Christmas cheer on Saturday, and this is what happened.

Hmm….yeees.   As you can see, the end result strongly suggests a few of Irish gnomes and a dozen or so fairies had a nice little keg party in my garden.  Oh well, it makes me smile and remember all the good of Christmas. The lights also mesmerize my dogs when they walk by, consequently causing them to forget about peeing on what is left of my garden altogether.  Win-win.

Speaking of Christmas cheer, I do believe I have discovered the best eggnog in the world.  When I was a kid my mom would make eggnog from scratch, before, you know, they told the world raw eggs would be the end of all civilization.

Who exactly ‘they’ are I’m not sure, but ‘they’ sure think a lot of things will kill a lot of us a great deal of the time.  Anyhow, because my mom used to make this amazing eggnog when I was little, I’m sort of particular about it now.  My brother must be too, because he brought some over on Thanksgiving that was delectable.  Southern Comfort, try it. Oh please oh please. 

I am sure I had other nonsense I wanted to tell you about, perhaps I’ll come back later to finish this. As of this moment I’m beginning to fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak, as I’m writing this whilst sinking into a delightfully cozy bed with only a candle nearby to light the room.

A vanilla candle at that.   Not exactly the most conducive way to remain alert.  I’ll have to remember that next time I’m trying to fall asleep, though generally speaking I need no incentive.

Oh, and my laptop’s battery is at 5%

So goodnight for now friend, I shall return shortly with more insignificant nonsense to share soon enough.

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Hello hello.  Just as promised, I’m back to finish up the nonsense I began on Monday.  Can’t let you go with half of what you came for, there is always enough nonsense to go around, you know.

Always.

My dad informed me last night that he’s heading out to Ireland for a while and I’ve decided I am vicariously going to go with him.  ‘Tis one of my favorite places in all the world, to be sure, the place God first created green. I’ll be moving there someday, but until then I’ll just amass such glorious shots as these until I turn into a leprechaun.

Oh wait, there is no such thing as a female leprechaun, is there? Er…I’ll just turn into a fairy then…yes, a fairy do just as well.

My neighbor Scott already thinks I am one for some reason.  He says I have ‘too much twinkle’ in my eye most of the time and am more curious than what is good for me. I tell him it’s because I have a tender, inquisitive heart and that those are tears in my eyes. Yeah, he doesn’t buy that at all.

Ok, can someone please explain to me the whole gangnam style thing? I’m afraid I don’t get it. At all.  It just makes me stare and make weird faces.  I’ll buy you dinner and show you said weird faces if you can.

One of my friends recently asked me why I like to write such random twaddle when I have so many more deep, weighty thoughts on my mind on a near constant basis.  My answer to her included the very question she had posed to me.  For I write not only to convey and process the deep, somber things of this world, but also to escape them.  I’ve learned my heart, know it’s depths, and am aware of what I carry every day.  It is good that I have learned to find and celebrate the simple, good, lighthearted and even nonsensical gifts of life and keep them with me.   Such things can help us get through the most sorrowful of times, most especially for those who are prone to such depths, or who bear inexpressible burdens or scars most of the world will never know.

We must dance while we cross the battlefield, accepting the ‘insignificant’ blessings from God as well as the deep, fighting on in this beautiful terrible place as we learn to laugh and weep and rest and die with Him.

Memoirs of a tenacious iPhone

Yesterday evening I found myself sitting in the center of my livingroom floor, staring somewhat contemplatively at the new iPhone I had just bought.

How in the world did that get here?

It seemed rather ridiculous that I had yet another one in my possession, seeing that I would probably be just as content with some little flip phone that would fit more easily into my coat pocket.

I know, I’m so dreadfully démodé.

As fate would have it, right about the time apple released it’s first iPhone three or four years ago, I was in need of some type of mobile mail and calendar access, and it seemed like a good time for me to get out of my comfort zone.

It was for this reason I was, until yesterday, still happily using the first version of iPhone, which to me worked perfectly fine and dandy.

Until I dropped it.

20 times.

Then it was no longer fine or dandy.

Oh, I’m not kidding, I really did.  It’s actually quite remarkable that it lasted as long as it did, given the trauma it endured with me, poor thing. Slippery little buggers like that really ought not be with the likes of me.

But with the likes of me it was, until it’s very last breath. Yes, in spite of my friends poking fun at me for toting such an old, chunky iphone, and regardless of the fact that the on/off  sound switch was no longer there, thus invoking some incessant buzzing on a very regular basis, I kept it.  After all, it still called the people it needed to call, texted who it needed to text, and did it’s best to serve as my alarm clock every morning.

And sometimes in the middle of the night too if it was in a mood…..which tended to be rather often near the end there.

It wasn’t until I had scotch tape draped across it’s shattered front screen that I decided it might be time for it’s retirement. Perhaps if it hadn’t quit charging altogether and calling people on it’s own whenever it fancied I would have considering holding onto it a bit longer, but at some point common sense sort of kicked in. With it’s recent habit of waking me up in the dead of night, I began to feel as if I had created some sort of monster, a technological version Frankenstein with a mind of it’s own.

I cannot say I was entirely void of fear in it’s presence.

So into the AT&T store I walked, set my sad little taped up mess of a phone on the counter and said to the sales guy,

“This is what I have at the moment.  While I am more than certain you no longer carry these”, gently touching the mangled phone with my finger so not to make it crumble into a billion pieces right there upon the counter, “I wonder if you have something similar”

At this the man’s eyes got really big and he sorta did a double take, staring down at the thing as if he was trying to figure out if it really was a phone. He stared a little longer than he should have, maybe even a little longer than he wanted to.  While I waited for him to pry his eyes away from the train wreck that was my phone, I  gained a deeper understanding of  the term rubbernecking.

“Well”, he said, “I don’t have anything like that,” This time carefully avoiding any direct eye contact with the thing on the counter, “but i do have a slight upgrade for a dollar”

“A dollar? Hmm, that sounds pretty good. What’s the catch?

“There is none. It’s just that nobody wants the slight upgrade, everyone wants the real deal.  You know, the iPhone 5?”

“hmm.  Yes, well let me tell you my friend, having just come from using that (again pointing at the dead thing sitting on the counter) this is looking pretty real to me.”

About five minutes later I stepped out into the world, slightly upgraded iPhone in hand, dead little warrior phone in pocket and headed home.

And so it was I found myself sitting on my living room floor, staring at the charming little white thing that had no scotch tape or broken buttons, but offered a million and one capabilities I would have zero interest employing, and also a few that left me more than a little unsettled.

For instance, why does my phone contact list suddenly include every one of my facebook friends?  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or contrary, but for a girl who keeps a tight, close group of friends and gets to know them for roughly ten years before trusting any one of them, maybe this is somewhat unnerving. Maybe maybe having 200 plus facebook friends suddenly appear as personal contacts on her phone is just a little spooky to her.

Especially when her phone has a recent history of calling random people at it’s own volition.

Meanwhile, as I sat there holding the little white thing, pondering these very insignificant quandaries, I kept hearing the faint sound of another phone going off, the vibration just audible enough to not be able to ignore entirely.

Assuming  it was coming from some adjacent apartment, I kept wondering to myself why it’s owner didn’t just answer the darn thing.

About a half hour later I thought, geesh, this is getting sort of absurd, answer your phone, silly neighbor whoever you are”

5 minutes after that: Wait a minute. Oh no.  Is that? Oh yes, yes it is. That is MY phone.  

You know, the sad little dead one, calling out to me from the AT&T bag I had stashed somewhere in a bedroom drawer when I got home because it was useless and had run out of batteries.

Had a little self-humbling moment there.

Also, I think I might have to burn that iPhone.

Feeding your dog: one perspective

A friend has asked me to do a basic review on dog food/nutrition and what’s important to look for if you’re wanting to support your dog’s health.  While I don’t particularly like doing reviews in general (with the exception of Trader Joe’s food, yum) I am willing to concede in this case, mainly because I don’t have a good enough reason to protest at this time. Plus, I like my friend.

A DISCLAIMER

To begin, let me say plainly that these are simply my own thoughts from my own experience working with dogs and the knowledge I’ve gained from training, practice and study.  As with anything else, there are many differing opinions on the topic, and I don’t claim to have the answer or ‘right way’ in any of it. This is just one humble opinion from my work with dogs, dog issues, and the training I’ve received from others. Take what you find helpful; discard what you find to be a bunch of hooey. I will try my very hardest to keep the latter at a minimum.

INGREDIENTS AND THE BASICS

So in general, assuming you feed your dog dry food, there are a few ingredients you want to avoid like the plague, at least as the first few ingredients.  The first of these is corn.

It’s generally used as inexpensive filler for dog food and has little (if any) nutritional benefit.  When this is listed first, be forewarned your dog will be full of crap.

Literally

The more nonsense/fluff/filler you put in them, the more you’ll find coming out the other end. I hate to be so blunt about the whole thing, but I’d rather you hear it from me than find out for yourself when you step out into your backyard and find mammoth sized muck everywhere.

Secondly, be very cautious if you see ‘animal by-product’ listed, as basically translated this means ‘the bits and pieces of the animal no one else would eat and will remain unnamed, lest you gag’. You don’t need that and neither does your dog.

(In fact, any meat generically named is probably not something you’ll want to be investing in.)

What you do want to see is specific protein listed first, ideally more than just one. So turkey, beef, chicken, fish and the like. Following this should be vegetables, grain and some fruit.

Another thing I’d watch for would be anything your dog may be allergic to. If she doesn’t have fleas and you’re noticing rashes, hot spots, other types of break-outs on or under the skin, or excessive licking (particularly aimed at the paws) you may want to consider switching foods.  Common food dogs tend to be allergic to are soy, corn, eggs and chicken, if I am remembering correctly. Of course there are many other possibilities as well, those are just the most common.
SWITCHING FOOD

If you do need to switch your dog’s food due to allergies or otherwise, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.  I’d never recommend just abruptly switching your dog from one food to another in a day, as doing so will likely result in a very sick puppy.  Instead, gradually add the new food while decreasing the old a little at a time, over a week or so. This will give your dog’s body a chance to adjust and will also allow you to watch for any poor reactions without bombarding their system all at once.  You can also use plain rice and boiled chicken (no seasoning please) to assist in the transition if it has to be quick.  This goes for switching a dog from puppy to adult food as well, which is generally best done around 8 months of age.

One note about the protein content in your dog’s food– for larger breed dogs you actually want to keep protein at about 23% or lower.  If the content is too high you run the risk of your puppy’s bones growing too fast for their body, incurring all sorts of potential problems.

SUPPLEMENTS, SNACKS and TROUBLE-SHOOTING

As far as additional supplements go, there are a few you might want to consider, depending largely on the breed, age and need of your dog. Of course you’ll want to check with your vet before adding anything to your dog’s diet, but here are some I’ve found to be helpful.

Omega-3’s: beneficial on a variety of levels, including supporting their immune system, heart, and skin/coat/joints. I give my dogs fish oil tablets every day.

Ester C supplements and glucosamine: can be helpful (and often vital) in large breed dogs with potential joint or growth issues.  When my great dane was still a young pup he began knuckling (basically his bones were growing faster than what his body could keep up with) and his legs looked like this:

Many of the vets I consulted said that surgery was his only option, until a number of breeders led me to try the aforementioned supplements instead.  With a diet change and the supplements, he was good as new in in no time.  Much cheaper and a great deal less painful, to be sure.  I mention this only to illustrate how effective and helpful supplements can be if administered appropriately and at the right time.

Carrots: this is a great alternative to dog bones as a snack and many dogs love them.  As long as they’re not given in excess, carrots are a fantastic option.

FEEDING RAW

Definitely do your research before going this route.  There are a number of ingredients vital to the survival and well-being of your dog that are normally added to dry food, some of which you may not even be aware of.  Just giving them raw meat will end in their demise.

In general when feeding raw, the majority should be meat, roughly 70% unless it’s a giant breed, in which case that percentage should be lowered significantly. This can be in the form of chicken, turkey, beef and some fish.   20-30% should be raw vegetables (no corn).  This can include things like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, etc. If you have a very active dog you’ll want to include grain as well, I’d opt for sweet potato or yams, maybe 7%.  You can add some fruit like apples and berries, but these are minimal.  In addition, your dog will require some of the aforementioned essential vitamins, which you’d need to speak to your vet about in regards to your particular breed.

The question of whether or not to leave the bones intact is rather controversial, I personally would include them with some caution.  But, if you’re going to go raw, the meat AND the bones must always remain entirely uncooked, period.  A mistake people often make is that they give their dogs cooked chicken bones, which splinter and can cause a lot of internal damage.  Cooked chicken bones, always a big no-no.

As you can probably tell, feeding raw is not the most inexpensive option, but it certainly has it’s benefits.

So, that’s about the extent of my thoughts on dog food at the moment.  I hope someone and their pup found it helpful in some way.