Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed.

So I had these big plans to write a bunch of posts over the holidays, since I was taking a vacation and would have time.

But then I decided to take a vacation and not do anything. At all. No writing, no pictures, no checking work e-mail, no nothing.

Happy Holidays from the most fun couple you know!

And it was great! I actually got yelled at a little bit by The Human Male and Mamala for not writing-- something about not knowing what I was doing since I didn't write about it, even though I was with them the whole time. Eh, I can take it.

We had a WONDERFUL time in the Motherland-- I can't believe how quickly eleven days can go! We got back late last night. Now it's time to unpack, recap, and enjoy the close-out of 2009.

Here's the brief rundown of some of the highlights:

1. The Alice and Izzy Love Connection. Alice and Izzy had a ton of fun together. I think my dad summed it up nicely when he said they're exactly alike, but Alice is smarter. Alice did spend some time trying to dominate all of the dogs (we think, much to our chagrin, that while she tolerates/plays with others, she should probably be an only-dog), but she and Izzy were like a semi-dysfunctional peas and carrots. They have a common bond: love of toys. Izzy walks around all the time with a toy in her mouth, so Alice would grab another one, run up the stairs (sometimes to the middle step, sometimes to the second floor), drop her toy, and walk back down past Izzy. Izzy MUST have everyone else's toys, so she'd drop hers and go after the one that Alice left. Alice would then pick up the one Izzy left while her back was turned and repeated the pattern. It was very funny to watch.

2. Pedro got Moneypants. My brother Pedro only wanted money for Christmas. So my mom made it interesting. She took a couple of layers of Press'n Seal paper, put the money inside of the layers, and then stitched the paper into TV pants. It was hilarious.

3. Hidden presents are really fun. All of the presents came hidden in other objects this year. My present was placed in a book with cut-out pages, and The Human Male got his buried in a canister of popcorn. Not realizing the popcorn wasn't his gift, the rest of the family had to eat popcorn until the present surfaced so he could find it. It was so precious-- The Human Male was so excited just about the popcorn, it made me cry.

4. Yaktrax attack! I've heard from multiple sources that Yaktrax are the only way to go outside during the winter and not fall over. So we went on a hunt for them and got pairs for practically the whole family. The Human Male and I took them for a run on Christmas along an icy/snowy/hilly path and they rocked-- not even a little slip. If they can handle Midwestern ice and snow, they can handle anything. I definitely recommend getting a pair!

5. We had satellite radio. The car The Human Male and I rented (a Kia Sportage, which rivaled the awesomeness of the beloved Subaru Forester we rented last year) came with satellite radio. It was great. We really only listened to about six stations the whole time we had it, but it was so cool. I heard some good new music and a ton of great old music. We brought the car back this morning and I already miss it. I think satellite radio might be a necessity for when I get a new car...

6. And the big'un... My sister C-Bond got engaged! The short version is that they've been together for three years, decided that they wouldn't get married until the youngest of their kids graduated high school (about seven years from now), and then decided to go for it. Jay-V is the nicest guy, a wonderful father, and has incredible taste in jewelry. C-Bond has a new career blinding people with her humongous diamond. My parents are so happy to have an awesome future son-in-law and more grandkids, my niece Mini-C is over the moon (the two of us decided to plan a Vegas wedding for them and she got so into it-- it was so cute), and I'm very excited to quadruple my number of nieces and nephews. Jay-V and his posse are a great additions to our family.

7. Too "you can't make this stuff up" not to laugh. Yes, The Human Male did drive for two days through a blizzard to spend 10 days with his very anxious-to-get-on-with-it girlfriend and her family in darkest Michigan, far away from anyone and anything he knows, only to find out 30 seconds after he got there that his girlfriend's sister and boyfriend who'd decided to wait to get married (and have been together for slightly less time) were getting engaged with a blowout ring. I can't believe he survived the whole trip.

I'm pretty sure good holiday Karma followed us back: our car rental ended up being $110 less than they originally told us, and I just checked my work e-mail and it's completely manageable and disaster-free. Alice is happily snuggled in the green blanket next to The Human Male, and we have a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge. I'm beginning to think that 2010's going to be a great year...

Best wishes for a happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Little Bit of Holiday Cheer.

Greetings from the beautiful Midwest! We've made our yearly pilgrimage to the Motherland for Christmas. This year's trip was quite exciting. We'd decided to leave on Saturday and didn't change our plans when the Snowpocalypse happened. From the sound of it, we were some of the last few people that managed to get out of DC-- they started shutting down roads behind us (our town ended up getting 20.5" of snow). It definitely wasn't an easy trip-- it took us four hours to get through Maryland into Pennsylvania, or about 100 miles from home-- but we made it. My will to live, however, was a casualty of the storm and I spent a while yelling at The Human Male and crying that we should turn around. On the upside, we were able to find a room for the night at the Red Roof Inn in Monroeville, PA. It was really nice-- the staff was nice, the room was inexpensive and recently renovated, and the best part: not only dog-friendly, but had no added fee for pets. I recommend it!

Alice and my parents' posse are getting along quite well this year. Izzy and Alice have become the best of friends, and little Z seems to have eight times the personality of last year (she was just a puppy then)-- she's hysterical. Harry fleed to the Cleve for a few days and will be back tomorrow, but when we saw him on Sunday, he's still the happiest dog on Earth.

I'll write more about the cute game that Izzy and Alice have started playing a little bit later this week, but in the meantime, I have something fun to share. The Bark put out a call for holiday pictures for a slideshow, so I submitted Alice's sweater picture. And it made it! I think it just posted yesterday. A link to it is here: There are some really cute pictures on there.

Hope you're all enjoying your holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who Wants a Matched Set?

Yesterday afternoon I got a new e-mail from Noah's Arks Rescue, the group that's taking care of sweet Miss Daisy. Today's special dog was Lexus, the one snuggling her in that beautiful picture. She's some kind of beagle mix and has a paralyzed leg, so they're having her do rehab to see if they can get it working.

While the letters are typically tearjerkers, this one actually made me smile. In the listing it says that she's grown extremely close to Daisy and they'd like to see if they can have them adopted together. Yay!

I thought we could manage three dogs and maintain some sort of sanity and room on the bed, I'd absolutely put in an application. Alas, one little puggle's taken control of my life. Instead, I'm sending good thoughts their way with hope that it helps them find their family very soon.

If you have a puggle and beagle-mix gang-shaped hole in your life, Noah's Arks asks that you contact them-- phone, e-mail and address are on their website. And as a personal request, I ask that whoever adopts them to spoil those sweeties rotten and give them lots and lots of treats.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good News for Buttercup!

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned we met a wonderful dog named Buttercup, who the rescue believes is a basset hound-Great Dane mix? I noticed I've been getting a number of hits for that post, so I decided to go and check in on her profile.

And guess what? She's got an adoption pending!

Hopefully I'm not jinxing things by mentioning it. Buttercup is a special, awesome girl and deserves a family of her own. And right in time for Christmas, too!

Congratulations to Buttercup and her soon-to-be family!

***UPDATE: Her page now says ADOPTED! Yay!***

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Pug with MANY Studs Sighting!

One of my very favorite fundraising events was held on Saturday: the Santa Speedo Sprint in Albany, New York. It benefits the Albany Damien Center, a fabulous organization that works with people and families living with HIV/AIDS. The Damien Center also sponsors a program called Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), which assists people with HIV/AIDS maintain and take care of their pets-- so cool.

Here's how the Santa Speedo Spring works: first, people get dressed in not much festive wear. Then they meet at a couple of different bars on Lark Street, build up some liquid courage, and then do a .8K down Lark in their finest holiday garments.

No, the decimal is not a mistake. It's a 0.8K. 800 meters. But seeing how it was a balmy 25 degrees this year, that distance probably felt a lot longer. Nevertheless, the Santas did awesome this year-- not only did they look fabulous, they raised $13,000 dollars. That's huge!

I was looking at pictures over at All Over Albany and found one that was QUITE enthralling-- a pug took part this year!

Hey, Alice-- want to go to Albany next winter? I'll buy you a Bombers burrito...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dear Mom and Dad: Sorry I didn't call this weekend...

We had one of "those" weekends in the Alice Palace. This is our last week before the holidays, and I know I'll definitely be having a very messy one, so we tried to pack everything we knew we'd need to do before Christmas into this weekend. This is the first second I've really had to sit, and it's now too late to call my folks and let them know I'm alive. Mamala and Popsy, please take a post as proof that I'll be there this weekend (and I'll call you this week)!

The big news for the weekend is that I have a new boyfriend. His name is Checkers and he's very handsome.

The Human Male and I were making a Target run and made a detour to the PetSmart next door when we saw a Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation truck outside. They were packing up their dogs and cats so we didn't get to talk to them (they also didn't bring any samples from the Lost Dog Cafe), but we saw some of their beautiful cats (including a Turkish Water Cat named Ashley that looks quite similar to my bro Pedro's cat The Sweez) and we met Checkers. He walked up to me in an aisle, leaned up against my leg, and rested his head on my kneecap.

I didn't know how to respond to that except to keel over swooning and fall in love with him. He is such a charmer.

So if you have a 55lb, black and white charmer-shaped hole in your life, I have a wonderful contender for you...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

O Christmas Z.

Once again, Z has proven to be one of the cutest dogs ever to walk this planet. Here she is, one of the few creatures enjoying the bad weather in the Midwest.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Glamour Shots.

On Sunday afternoon, our apartment building brought in Jim Poor, a professional pet photographer, for holiday pictures. Tenants with pets were welcomed to sign up for a time slot and got a free digital and 4x6" print. Let me just say, this event made our astronomical rent seem pretty reasonable.

This is the second time that we've had Alice's picture professionally taken. The first time was on Valentine's Day. I realized I never wrote about how the photos came out. The pictures were beautifully shot, but Alice had some issues and it showed.

[Cue Gloria Gaynor.]

First, Alice was afraid-- she was petrified. And then she got some treats and looked greedy-eyed. So we got duplicates of the best half-dozen or so photos (ones where she wasn't cowering or looking like she had better things to do than sit for a picture) and have plastered them on our walls and in my office (I have so many pictures of Alice in there now that my coworkers think I'm a Crazy Dog Mom*). I love how those came out, but we did want to give a professional photographer another go for some more variety.

Let me just say, what a different ten months can make.

When we walked in and took Alice off her leash, I actually thought she was going to be too wound up. She was dancing and jumping around like a hooligan. Then we told her to Wait, and realized that's one of the best command that you can teach your dog. She sat like a little pro.

Her pictures came out absolutely lovely. Here's the digital one we got:

I now understand why my parents got all excited when we had pictures taken growing up.**

I'm not a Crazy Dog Mom; I feel that my adoration for Alice is directly related to her degree of awesomeness and completely appropriate.

** See * above.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

It's officially turned into Sweater Season in DC. On Sunday, the high was 36 degrees-- BRRRR!!!

When we start seeing more dogs in the neighborhood wearing coats and sweaters, I start thinking about this Petco commercial:

I really do think that dogs care about how they look-- or at least know when they look good and/or feel embarrassed when they're wearing something they don't like.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sometimes Crying in the Store ISN'T Embarrassing.

The Human Male and I were at Trader Joe's Saturday morning. While exciting enough news on its own (I love Joe's!), I got a call from Mamala. Mamala doesn't call that often, so when she does, I know she has business.

And what great business she had! After a short conversation, she asked me a few questions about Noah's Arks Rescue, the group I posted about on Friday who is taking care of sweet Miss Daisy. And then she said that she and my Dad have decided to forgo giving the dogs presents this year and will instead be donating that money to Miss Daisy's recovery. They feel that she needs the money more than the dogs need more toys (especially when all Harry, Izzy, Z, and Alice really want is attention and people food), and are donating in honor of all of our dogs' mothers, who could have very well been in the same situation as Daisy.

At that point, the tears started flowing, right there in the check-out line. There are no words to describe just how happy this makes me. Even as I write this now, the apartment's feeling very, VERY dusty. As much fun as it is to buy the dogs toys and treats, I think this is such an incredibly great gift idea-- and a fabulous way to get around the whole "My dogs have too many toys" issue. I also like that it's kind of a way to initiate new members into the "Gotta Pick Up the Dog Toys Before Bed" Club-- the sooner Daisy gets better, the sooner her future family will be picking up her toys.

As an aside, I also feel very, very lucky to have the kind of parents that would think of doing something as awesome as this.

So if you're trying to think of a present for your pooch and wrestling with either what to get or if they really need anything else, I urge you to consider donating to an animal-related cause. I can guarantee it'll feel better than picking up toys at night!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

About that Sneer...

A few of you have commented on the Alice header picture.

This was the picture we used on our Christmas cards last year. It was not the picture we originally intended to take.

For weeks, I had this idea to send out "Attack of the 50ft Christmas Puggle!" cards. I have a little Christmas tree that's probably about 18-24" high, so we stuck treats in it and tried to have her look like she was attacking the tree.

The pictures weren't very... Christmas card-y.

After about two hours of trying, I threw in the towel and decided to try again later. She was looking really cute in her little sweater and hat, so I decided to take one last picture.

Alice was so done-- with treats, with me, with her stupid hat and tiny ugly sweater. I feel like she speaks for all pets whose owners make them wear silly clothing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Miss Daisy.

Just in case you've got a little spare cash and are looking to give a holiday donation, I've got a possibility for you.

I just got an e-mail from Noah's Arks Rescue in Okatie, SC. They're a group that takes in really awful animal abuse cases, nurses them back to health, and finds them homes. They send out an e-mail or two a week, and it's absolutely shocking to see what people will do to animals-- but it's also fantastic and reassuring to see that there are people out there willing to put in the tough work to help them heal and have wonderful lives.

Today's e-mail has gotten me. They have a new rescue named Miss Daisy, who they're calling a pug mix, and it's pretty clear she's a puggle-- and a very, very cute one at that. They believe she was a puppy mill dog and was dropped in a ditch, and now Noah's Arks is rehabilita
ting her.

Noah's Arks' e-mails are typically tweaking, but this one's definitely gotten me emotional. That's all I can say. Get well soon, Miss Daisy!

Just a Little More Holiday Cheer.

A few days ago Mamala sent me some pictures of Z and Izzy. I thought it couldn't get much cuter than the picture of Z in her Zanta suit.

It did. Zanta got a sidekick.

Don't Izzy's ears look real?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


A couple of nights ago, I went to bed after The Human Male. I walked into the bedroom and found this:

I started laughing and The Human Male kind of woke up and asked what was going on. I told him that Alice had made a cute little nest out of pillows.

"Oh, she didn't do that. I made it for her."

Ever have one of those moments when you just love someone a little more?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Found: Christmas!

Last night was our neighborhood's Christmas Tree-lighting ceremony. It's such a fun event. The tree is in the center of the main strip, where our fountain sits. They also put big Christmas presents around it. It's really cute.

Our neighborhood will close down the streets for anything, and tonight was no exception. They run two carriages up and down the main street and serve cider. There was also a very quiet bunch of carolers strolling around.

The best part of the night happened at Cakelove, our neighborhood cupcake shop. Remember a while back when I wrote about Alice's cupcake boyfriend, Warren Brown? He was there tonight! And he was checking people out. I'll admit it, I totally went in there and bought cupcakes so that I could talk to him.

We got a red velvet and a chocolate peppermint. Mine was eaten before we even made dinner.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiny Cousins.

Here are a couple of "Too Cute Not to Post" pictures. The first is of Molly, The Human Male's family's new cockapoo. She just turned seven months old.

Molly's ten pounds of curly fur and cuteness. While we were in New York, Molly did everything she could to get Alice to play with her. Her signature move was to bat Alice repeatedly in the head with her left hand (six out of the seven people in The Human Male's immediate family are lefties, so it's not too shocking Molly's left-handed, too), and then fall over when Alice looked at her. Alice ignored her at first, and then learned that a really fun game to play is to push a tennis ball and make Molly run after it.

The second picture is of Z, my parents' chihuahua, in her special new Zanta suit.

This picture absolutely ruins me-- I love how it looks like she's just told a joke and is laughing at it. How could that sweet little face not put you in the holiday spirit?