Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dogs, Cats, and Wine.

I've mentioned about 783 times in past posts that I LOVE The Curious Grape, a wine store in Arlington, VA. There are so many reasons to love them. First, they're super nice and know wine so well that you could walk out with anything and look like a vineal rock star. Second, they have a tasting bar that's always open (and this is in addition to larger half-hour seminars they have regularly). Third, they're having a sale on Mondays through September where if you buy a chocolate bar and a bottle of wine, you get 15% off your purchase. But you have to buy both. Fine, twist my arm.

The thing that I love the most about them is that they're dog people. And I don't mean tolerant of dogs. They loooooooove dogs. They keep a container of treat at both the check-out and the tasting bar (which are probably seven feet apart). They've been known to pour some wine for a tasting, then run over and give Alice treats when she comes in. It's enough that they let her in. The fact that they treat her so nicely can get me feeling like the store's a little dusty.

All of Northern Virginia's pretty dog friendly (and recently got named one of the top-ten most dog-friendly cities/areas in the U.S.), but our area's a little nutty about it. For at least the past two years, they've closed off the main street to host a little pet party that benefits a local rescue group. This year's event is being held next week. And to celebrate, The Curious Grape is having special tastings and discounts on dog and cat-related beers and wines starting tomorrow. 10% of the beer proceeds and $1 from each dog/cat-related wine will be donated to local rescue groups (I believe I read that it's going to the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, a group that's run by the owners of a restaurant called the Lost Dog Cafe. As a note, The Human Male and I WILL be trying out this place in the future and will report back-- the menu sounds insanely good and one of the locations has pictures of their adopted pets all over the walls).

Okay, so you like my dog, make me buy good chocolate to go with my wine, and now you're donating money to rescues? When you're done twisting my arm, pinch me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hot Time in the City.

Ever wonder why Congress takes a long break in August?

Because August in DC is also referred to as "Hell's Sauna".

For example, the temperature right now is 92. Hot, but definitely tolerable (and actually pretty pleasant). But on top of that, there's the humidity. It's actually low right now at 54% (it's been in the 60-77% range lately). And then there's the dew point. Currently it's at 73 degrees. That's not good.

All told, it feels like 100 degrees outside, with the air akin to walking into a wet towel.

Everyone left in town after Congress leaves loses their will to live in August. You give up trying to maintain good hygiene. The little bit of clothing you're wearing is sopping with sweat, your makeup runs off your face, and your hair is both simultaneously limp and huge-- not sure how that one happens, but it does. You actually forget what it feels like to not be damp. If the guy squished up next to you on the Metro smells like a wild goat died in his pocket, you actually feel badly for him instead of being grossed out. And if you can make it to work and back home, you've succeeded for the day.

This being our first summer with Alice, we weren't sure how she'd react to the heat, but since she's part-pug and it being so darn hot, we knew we had to be cautious with her. We never take her on driving errands anymore, and there definitely haven't been as many trips to the Dog Park (though when we go, it almost always results in a dip in the river, which is fine by her).

A while back, it was so hot one day, Alice only had the energy to flop around the house. Oddly, her belly generates a huge amount of heat (heaven help you if she decides to spread out alongside you at night; you'll catch on fire), so she lays on her side, just splattered.

We pretty much just started leaving the air conditioning on all the time after that. And like a plant getting water, she perks right up and gets wonderfully obnoxious again.

Something else we've learned cools puggles off? Popsicles.

Last Sunday morning, it was too hot and humid to get out of bed. So we had popsicles in bed for breakfast. Alice thought that was just about the best thing since tennis balls.

Growing up in the Midwest, I could never imagine saying this: I'm kind of looking forward to the fall and cooler weather. Seeing how homebound Alice is, I think she might be looking forward to it, too.

Though the popsicles might need to stay.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beagles love blueberries.

There's a movie coming out in November called The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I'm excited about this movie for a gajillion different reasons.

First, it's by Wes Anderson, whose movies I love (like The Royal Tenenbaums, starring Buckley the Beagle-- plus I have a sneaking suspicion that Alice may actually be a Tenenbaum).

Second, guess who's doing the voice of Mr. Fox? Oh, yeah-- Studs With Pugs Honoree, George Clooney (otherwise known as the future Mr. Alice's Human Female). Fantastic, indeed.

Third, it's based off the Roald Dahl book. Who doesn't love Roald Dahl?

The Human Male stumbled across the trailer yesterday, and now I'm even more excited.

While watching this, two things struck me as particularly funny: one, the "beagles love blueberries" comment. I've never really tried with any of our other dogs, but Alice will do anything for a blueberry. From now on, I'm going to attribute her obsession with blueberries to her beagle half.

Second, Mr. Fox's "trademark", that obnoxious whistle and tongue click, is also The Human Male's irritating trademark. He's been doing it at least since we got Alice. It drives me absolutely nuts, but I do think it's kind of funny that it's in a movie, and actually gets called out as being irritating.

Plus it also gets Alice's attention when she's in a blueberry trance.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Chair Monster

So I have this green chair. It's probably circling around 25 years old at this point. I don't know what it is about this chair, it doesn't even match anything in the house, but I love it. It's sturdy, comfy, and still looks pretty good for something made in the 80s.

And for some reason, all animals love this chair, too. Every cat we've ever owned has done time underneath it. Lucy, my brother's cat, did one better-- about ten or so years ago, she ripped the lining in the bottom and made it a secret bi-level cat lair between it and the springs. I can't tell you how many hours we spent searching for her before we realized that the lining was hanging a little low.

Since that time (i.e., when we got Emmie and she joined in on the fun), the liner has ripped out. So now there's a good eleven-inch high space underneath the chair. So if you can fit through the four-inch high gap, then you have a special hiding place.

So, guess who can collapse small enough to get into this spot?

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Fantastic and Furry Fashion-Forward Friday!

Alice got a package yesterday! A couple of weeks ago, my mom made a trip to Style Mutt, a great little pet store outside of Cleveland. They just moved to a new location, and they were doing a final sale of some truly fabulous things at their old store. The box was actually addressed to Alice, and I think she knew it. She was very, very excited about the package.

Mamala hooked Alice up something fierce! In addition to a gorgeous pink birthday lei, a tough black toy dog with a squeaky tail, and a special Adoption Day toy that she won't get until next month, she got two jackets. One is a yellow duckie raincoat.

Alice hates going out in the rain (but loves playing in the dog park's river-- go figure). I'm hoping that when she's wearing it, she'll be more willing to venture out when the sky is falling.

The second is a fabulous pink leopard-print fur coat. Not only does she look fantastically elegant, Alice is OBSESSED with it. The second she saw it, she grabbed it and started running around the house. And she's not chewing on it-- just pulling it around and licking it. She even likes wearing it. I think she feels pretty.

I'm really exctited that she likes it-- Izzy got one just like it. Now they're Diva Twins!