February 27, 2005

The Body Count, So Far

Each day I'm reminded that at 1 year, Digory is still a puppy. So far he's destroyed 3 Kleenex boxes. Okay, you would have thought that I'd learn after the first one, or even the second one, but no, there were three within his reach that he chewed up. Next it was the stem of my glasses, which fortunately are still wearable. Now it's the recharger cord for my cell phone. Luckily we can get it off of Amazon for like $8 as opposed to getting it from AT&T for $30 or something.

We're lucky in that Digory is not exhibiting the most major puppy problems. He does seem to be fully housetrained, for example. But there are still moments every now and then that he reminds us that he's only 1.

Posted by Shelby at 11:32 PM

February 23, 2005

And Speaking of Open Letters

I have a little response to this article from MSNBC which outlines how people spend outrageous money on brand-name items. Read the article first (it's short), then read the follow-up article on 10 little luxuries worth every penny. It's also short. Once you're done with that, click on the extended entry below.

This article serious pissed me off and I'll tell you why. I don't appreciate being lectured by a self-righteous, holier than thou, condescending, self-congratulatory author who puts down the luxuries other people choose yet promotes stupid bullshit wastes of money like DVRs. I don't even have cable--here's an idea, how about not watching tv at all!--our grandparents did just fine without tvs. In fact, who needs indoor plumbing? Think of all the water we'd save by just using an outhouse. It was good enough for Grandpa!

I'm not even going to start in on home delivery of everything, a manicurist, a maid, valet parking (for f*cks sake), and shipping luggage.

I can justify my Wustof knives (you'll pry them from my cold dead hands too), my All-Clad pots and pans that last forever and really do make cooking easier and less time-consuming, my Riedel glasses that really do make a difference in how the wine tastes based on the shape of the glass, and my "luxury" sheets because I'd rather not have to spend 10 hours a night tossing and turning because my cheap-ass sheets itch me and are fraying at the edges (not to mention never fit the mattress properly). But seriously, what's the advantage of valet parking? You don't save any time, because you have to wait for the valet to retrieve your car. You gain weight because you don't walk to your car to get it yourself. All you're doing is spending money.

I don't like the tone and I don't appreciate the lecture, miss High and Mighty. If drinking Two Buck Chuck out of your Ikea glasses and slathering your skin with artificial chemicals that destroy the environment (Vaseline lotion) makes you feel superior to me then go for it. But that's a conversation you should be having with your other Wal-Mart-jeans-wearing girlfriends, and you better throw in an extra trip to Wally World after you finish your Cosmopolitan and retrieve your valet-parked car because your ass is hanging out of that big rip in your week-old Wal-Mart jeans. Or, you know, just have them delivered.

The point of the article was not to convince people to spend less money or to spend within their means. It was to make the author and other people who feel that expensive sheets are a waste of money feel superior to those of us who don't splurge on Tivo but who do enjoy our Kiehls lotion. If she wanted to talk about how people are spending within their means, she should do an article on how much the average credit card debt is, not just picking, choosing, and making fun of the luxuries that some people prioritize while promoting her own priorities that most of the time make no sense.

I mean how does sitting around in my house waiting for my luggage to be delivered save me time? Either I spend my time standing in line, or I spend my time sitting around at home waiting in that 4 hour window for the delivery guy to show up. Oh well, at least I'll be sitting I guess. Although I will have to get up from the couch when the cleaning lady wants to vacuum it. And as for the tax pro, yes, you're right. I am too stupid to do my own taxes. What was lil ol' me thinking?!

PS: I do think that the author has a point here. I just don't like the way the point was delivered.

Posted by Shelby at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2005

An Open Letter to God

Dear God,
Okay, we get it. I know you're all-powerful. I know you control the weather. I know that you want to prove to us spoiled Southern Californians that you can do whatever you want. We may have gotten a little cocky, bragging about our fantastic weather, and you want to put us in our place. Well, we're pretty humbled now. I just want to know--are you going to stop the rain soon, or is this a 40 days/40 nights kind of thing? If you could send me a sign (like perhaps coming out of the heavens and telling me to build a boat), I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Posted by Shelby at 07:15 PM

February 21, 2005

Meme-y Fun

I AM: I am, I am Superman--and I can do anything. (Bonus points for naming the song*.)
I WANT: Buffalo wings
I HAVE: an ear infection--grrrrrr
I WISH: we had a different President
I HATE: the feeling of antibiotic ear drops creeping out of my ear
I MISS: working at summer camp
I FEAR: sharks and alligators
I HEAR: the Bare Naked Ladies (don't worry Dad, it's a band)
I SEARCH: Google, and often
I WONDER: when it will stop raining.
I REGRET: not quitting things (activities, my job, etc.) when they're really bad for me and I realize later how much heartache I could have saved myself by just doing something else and not being so stubborn
I LOVE: My pack (Kevin, Scout, and Digory)
I ACHE: in my thighs. I think I may have overdone the workout tonight
I AM NOT: stupid
I DANCE: like it's 1999--or is that I party like it's 1999?
I SING: along with everything
I CRY: at the thought or reading about animals being abused
I AM NOT ALWAYS: picking at my face. Okay who am I kidding, I AM always picking at my face
I WRITE: novels, blog entries, editing comments on other people's writing
I CONFUSE: people with my sophisticated (read: obscure) sense of humor
I TASTE: the fruit roll-up I just consumed
I NEED: to sit down and finish my novel

borrowed from the very honest Mom With Attitude.

* "Superman" by REM

Posted by Shelby at 11:04 PM

February 20, 2005

You're Not A Real Aunt Until...

You've dealt with an atomic scale diaper blowout.

Guess what I did tonight?

Actually I had a great night. My nieces Corie (age 9) and Seana (2 and 1/2) came over for the evening while my brother and sister in law went out to dinner and a concert for Katrina's birthday. We prepared for the evening by...well we didn't really prepare that much. Our home is rather toy-free (although books? We got lots of those) so they brought Hungry Hungry Hippos over. This rather noisy game kept Seana occupied on and off for a while.

We put on Dora the Explorer (supplied by Kat and Brad) and ordered some pizza. I had promised Corie that I would teach her to write with my glass dip pens and she did a great job with that. In fact, she was much more adept at it than Kevin is. She has a light touch. We had our pizza (pepperoni) and Seana wandered back to the living room to watch Dora again.

Seana's in the middle of potty training and is currently experiencing a backslide, so she wears Pull-Ups (and frankly I find it a little disturbing that Pull-Ups have their own website, but anyway...). For those of you without kids, pull-ups are thin diapers that pull up and down like underwear. So Seana came out saying "poopy, poopy" and Corie and I were like "Oh, you have to go poopy? Let's go to the potty!" Then Corie says, "wait, what's that on her hand?" Seana identified it for us--poopy.

Apparently she's picked up a recent habit of putting her hand into her diaper, this time with very unpleasant results. But hey, what's a little poopy on a hand? Nothing I can't handle. So I sat her up on the counter and we washed our hands in the sink. Corie pointed out that there was poopy on her shirt, so she went to get another pull-up, the wipes, and Seana's PJs to change into.

Well poor Seana has also been on antibiotics and her poop is a little, shall we say, less formed than usual. We stripped her down, and that's when we discovered the blow-out. We get the clothes off and Corie says "Eeeew, it's on her stomach!" Seana was facing her with her back to me and I said, "Eeeew, it's on her back too!" And her shirt. And her pants.

Okay, so the two of us go to town with the wipes and start getting her cleaned up, and I started to deal with the diaper. I pulled it down a bit, got a whiff, and said, "Someone's gonna barf...and it's me!" I was contemplating how I was going to get this pull-up down without spreading more poop everywhere, but then I remembered that pull-ups now have tear-away sides. I could kiss the person who invented that.

Anyway, I managed to deal with the diaper without barfing. Digory was very interested in the process but Kevin held him back. We got Seana all cleaned up with wipes (I was this far from just popping her in the bathtub, but we got it under control fairly quickly). Corie was incredible. I couldn't have done it without her help.

We went back and finished up Round 2 with Dora, then dipped into our own DVD collection to watch Babe. Seana threw a small tantrum: "Dora! Dora! Dora! You're infringing upon my right to watch the same DVD until the disc self-implodes!" (not a direct quote). A quick, "Sorry Seana, but we're watching the animals" and a little ignoring the crying made that problem go away. All was well. We followed up Babe with Finding Nemo and Seana, Corie, Digory and I all snuggled together on the couch. Digory had been pushed off the couch to make room for Seana but he didn't let that stop him. He just jumped up and sat down on her. Cheeky.

Seana conked out and we finished the movie and then Brad and Katrina came back. All in all it was a fun and relaxing evening. And no comments from the peanut gallery about how I entertained my nieces by showing 3 DVDs. Next time we'll do something more creative.

Posted by Shelby at 02:21 AM | Comments (1)

February 18, 2005

Feeling Better Today

Well I'm all doped up on my various cold medicines so I won't be operating any heavy machinery, but I am feeling better. The Throat Coat tea was actually very soothing, and it tasted good too. I noticed that the ear drops have hydrocortisone in them as one of the 3 active ingredients. That brings down the swelling and some of the pain has abated. Ear drops are a pain in the ass, but I do feel better, so I can't complain too much. Which reminds me...I'm due for another round.

Posted by Shelby at 01:31 PM

February 17, 2005


I just got back from the doctor, who said that my throat looked "awful." It's a viral infection, so no antibiotics. I do, however, have an ear infection for which I need to get drops. It's the same ear as The Great Infection of 2004 in August where I actually lost my hearing and was lucky to get it back after a month of steroids. Needless to say I'm concerned about my hearing again, but I don't seem to have any loss. He also recommended Advil for the pain (both ear and throat), Robitussin and Sudafed for congestion, saltwater gargles (which in my experience have never done squat for me), and something called Throat Coat tea. Hunh. Let's hope this blows over quickly, because it sucks.

Posted by Shelby at 03:44 PM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2005

Beagle Week on Dogster!

It's beagle week on Dogster! Why every week isn't beagle week we'll never know, but go and check out some of the sweeties over there.

In honor of beagle week, I registered the Dig-Man. You can find his page here. And be sure to check out Scout's page here.

Posted by Shelby at 08:04 PM

For the Umpteenth Time

My allergies have turned into something more sinister. I'm so sick of this. My ears are totally plugged and my throat is killing me. Ugh.

In other news, Digory's getting that doggy smell. Time for a bath! He and Scout love to play-fight. Tonight Scout was getting the better of him for the first time. He usually can just muscle her around, but Scout's figuring out how to use her size as an advantage and gets under him and pushes up. Digory was on his back, belly-up, about 5 times in their latest play session.

This is such a relief because we've been so concerned about dominance issues. We've been worried sick knowing when to intervene so it doesn't turn into a real fight. But having Digory flipped over is a very good sign. It's a total submissive gesture. Scout also runs under the bed (Digory can't fit) or into her crate when she's "done" so we're feeling better about that too. There hasn't been deep growling or raised hackles, so we're trying not to intervene too often. We do want them to have fun and play, it's just that playing looks so much like fighting.

Posted by Shelby at 07:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2005

Blogroll Update

For those of you not in the know, a blogroll is a list of the blogs you read on a daily basis. My list has been woefully out of date for months now, but I've finally updated it to reflect the blogs that I actually do check on a daily basis. They're in alphabetical order, and here are a few notes of the new additions (which are actually blogs I've been reading for a while now).

Adventures of an American Girl in Germany
Well the name kind of gives it away, but Anna is indeed an American Girl in Germany. And she speaks much better German than I do.

Daily Dose of Dave
Dave Oeskovic (not to be confused with Dave Barber or Dave Tepper) is another American living in Germany. Dave and I met in Hamburg through the Meetup.com site and he's a really funny guy. Go congratulate him on his new job!

Like Disneyland Every Day
This one's not new--it's my husband Kevin's blog. It does have a new name--this one reflecting our current residence in The OC.

Me, Maggie
One of the most adorable blogs on my blogroll, Maggie is a beagle pup, about the same age as Digory. Maggie's mom is an artist and there are lots of great pictures. If you want a beagle's perspective on the world, check out this blog.

Misty's Journal
Misty is one of the few bloggers on my blogroll I've actually met. Her husband Finian is a good friend of mine from college (Misty's an Albion alum too but we weren't there at the same time). She's currently in Paris visiting Barber.

Query Letters I Love
Put down your beverage before reading this site, lest you spit it all over your keyboard in laughter. This is a guy who runs a talent agency for screenwriters. The blog is his publication of horrible query letters for movies that cross his desk. Be sure to click on his comments. Some of them are more funny than the site itself.

The Best Page in the Universe
Sure to offend everyone, even those who think they aren't easily offended, this webpage describes itself as, "This page is about me and why everything I like is great. If you disagree with anything you find on this page, you are wrong." He's making a big announcement soon and I believe it will be that he's shutting down his site, but the archives are worth it.

The Lingual Nerve
A medical blog written by doctors, for doctors. Some great stuff here for the curious.

Posted by Shelby at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life.

In an appropriate activity for the day, I saw my new cardiologist. Unfortunately I ended up waiting for-freakin'-ever to see the doctor, but when I did I really liked her. She was very thorough and as it turns out, she's totally Stanford-trained and has worked with my cardiologist and knows him well. How convenient!

We are adjusting the dosage of my primary medicine to try to lessen some of the memory problems I'm having. Apparently I'm on a high dose and it hasn't been adjusted since The Great Crisis of 2002 (read: transplant list). So she felt that I could reduce it some, and perhaps increase another of the meds I take if my heart rate gets too high (that med has lesser side effects).

I go in in March for another echo (I'm way overdue) and she's putting me in touch with the Hoag Hospital Pacemaker Clinic to monitor my ICD. That should be good too, as they're highly regarded. And they are both in lovely Newport Beach, which I believe is the city featured in The OC--despite the fact that The OC is not filmed in OC at all--in fact some of it's in Palos Verdes (which is The LA) and my mom's office was even seen in one scene.

Posted by Shelby at 05:52 PM

February 13, 2005

A Success

The party was a smashing success. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the tri-tip was awesome with my homemade aioli. Yes, I made homemade aioli. It was such a complicated recipe that none of you will ever be able to achieve that. My Death By Chocolate cake turned out really good too. For some reason as it cooled it kind of caved in at the top. So I thought I would flip it over onto the cake stand, but that didn't work either. Oh well, it tasted awesome so appearances aside, it was a success. I think that's the first cake I've ever made from scratch so I wasn't complaining.

Aioli recipe:
1 cup organic mayo
1 clove fresh garlic
1 tsp. mustard powder

Mince garlic into mayo. Add mustard powder to taste, around 1 tsp. (I used about 3/4 tsp.). Stir and serve.

Posted by Shelby at 09:11 PM

February 12, 2005


Today is Kevin's birthday party. I'm taking a short break while I wait for Kevin to put his pie in the oven (no, that's not innuendo, he's actually making a cherry pie) and then I will bake a Death By Chocolate cake. Luckily the weather cleared up--it was pouring yesterday--and it looks like we'll be able to grill our tri-tip. The tri-tip has been marinating since last night and the scent is driving the dogs crazy, particularly Digory. It's fragranced up the whole fridge too, and smells wonderful. I can't wait to partake.

Posted by Shelby at 01:06 PM | Comments (3)

February 11, 2005

Did You Know?

Did you know that when it's raining, you're supposed to turn your headlights on? No? Neither do half the people driving around today either.

Posted by Shelby at 05:10 PM

February 10, 2005

The Kong

There's this very popular dog toy called the Kong. It's this hard rubber toy that you stick a treat into and it's supposed to occupy the dog for hours while he or she tries to get the food out.

It's never worked for Scout. She gives up after about 5 minutes and looks for an easier treat.

Tonight we decided to try it out on Digory. I kid you not when I tell you this dog has been enthusiastically going at it for the past 40 minutes, with no sign of stopping until he gets the whole Milk Bone out. He was originally chewing in the living room and then we heard a bark (him) and Scout was standing there--I think she made a play for it. So we brought Scout into my office with a Greenie and left him out. That worked for the duration of the Greenie, but then Scout wanted out. So we brought Digory into my office and he's been working on the Kong ever since.

I think we have a hit.

Posted by Shelby at 11:46 PM

February 08, 2005

A Wet Nose, a Waggy Tail

Digory is really settling in here with his new family. His kennel cough is nearly completely cured, and he has dramatically cut down on his dominance maneuvers with Scout. The best part, though, is an observation Kevin made tonight--he's wagging his tail. For the first several days he seemed very unsure about his place here. I think he was even wondering what he was doing here--if he was here to stay or not. He was energetic but a little reserved and shy. Well his personality sure is blossoming. He enthusiastically wags his tail all the time now, and he's turned into a real cuddle bunny. He especially likes to nap with me and will curl up against my legs with his chin laid on me.

Posted by Shelby at 09:12 PM | Comments (1)

Happy 30th Birthday, Kevin

Happy Birthday Kevin, you old man, you. I love you!

Posted by Shelby at 09:09 PM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2005

Like Ohmigod, High School!

What year was it? 1987-1991

What were your three favorite bands/performers? Depeche Mode, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel (I was a very strange teenager)

What was your favorite outfit? Levi's 501s and something comfortable on top. Okay, I'll admit it, my favorite outfit was my Tall Flags (known elsewhere as Colorguard) Pep Uniform, which was the short-short cheerleader skirt and short sleeved sweater with my name and high school proudly embroidered on it. I believe this monstrocity still lives in my parent's garage.

What was up with your hair? Do we really have to talk about this? It was very long, and for the last few years it was fashionably spiral-permed. We'd just gotten out of the huge bangs of the mid-80s, but the bangs were, uh, larger than they are today. There was a lot of mousse and hairspray involved.

Who were your best friends? Nell, Sarah, Sarah, many (but definitely not all) of the girls on the flag team, and other band people. Interestingly enough, my arch-rival and bitterest enemy was also named Shelby.

What did you do afterschool? I don't know--watched Oprah? Went to my French tutor. Practiced flag twirling.

Where did you work? I didn't. School was my job, and I didn't do a very good job at that, either.

Did you take the bus? No, I walked uphill both ways. I mean that literally. My parents lived in at the bottom of two hills, and to go anywhere you had to go up one side and down the other, and the same to get back.

Who did you have a crush on? Multiple crushes throughout the years, none of whom I care to mention here.

Did you fight with your parents? Oh please, who didn't?

Who did you have a Celebrity crush on? You know, I can't think of anyone in particular who I had a crush on.

Did you smoke cigarettes? Nope--gross

Did you lug all your books around all day because you were too nervous to find your locker? Yes I lugged my books around all day because we got the same locker all 4 years and mine was in a really bad location, and it was on the bottom and a pain in the ass to get through. Actually most of the time I shared my friend Sarah's locker.

Did you have a clique? Sort of. Freshman year I was in the Drama group, then with the band geeks, but I also kinda had my own friends.

Did you have a “The Maxx” like Kelly, Zach and Slater? I have no idea what this is. Is this from the OC?

Admit it, were you popular? Popular in the sense that everyone knew who I was--yes. Popular in the sense that everyone wanted to be my friend--no.

Who did you want to be like? Carol, this girl on my flag team.

What did you want to be when you grew up? an actress

Where did you think you’d be at the age you are now? Accepting my Best Actress Oscar

Who are you going to pass this on to? I dunno, who wants it?

Borrowed from Mom With Attitude.

Posted by Shelby at 11:11 PM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2005

Poor Digory Dog

The little (big) guy is sick :(. He's been sneezing and we thought it was just allergies, but when his sneezes started, ah, producing I thought it was probably a good idea to take him in. Of course I didn't decide this until later in the afternoon, but luckily the vet who is literally a block away from us had an immediate opening "if we can bring him in in the next half hour." I left to have dinner with my friend Cari in Pasadena so the task of the vet visit fell to Kevin.

Poor Digory, according to Kevin he was quite possibly more of a vet wimp than Scout--and that's saying a lot. Anyway, the guy has kennel cough, which is common and easily treated by antibiotics. Of course, as anyone with an animal can tell you, administering said antibiotics is far less than "easy." For the uninitiated, you have to follow these steps:

1) Attempt to restrain dog by holding collar
2) dog gets the idea of what you're about to do and starts struggling and whining like you were going to pull a paw off
3) restrain the dog with one hand and grab the snout with the other
4) pry open the snout
5) grow a third hand
6) with said third hand, shove pill as far back into the squirming mouth as possible
7) hold snout shut while stroking throat to encourage swallowing
8) watch carefully. If the dog licks his nose, he has swallowed the pill. If not, pick soggy, dissolving pill off of the floor and start again at step 1.
9) give dog a treat for taking the pill.
10) watch dog slink away and hide from you, eyeing you suspiciously, until he forgets what you've done to him.

Digory also got an antibiotic shot from the vet, which solicited a yelp. Unfortunately kennel cough is highly contagious, so the vet said to separate Digory and Scout. Kevin told him that they'd been together for 5 days now, so it's too late for that. We'll just have to hope for the best. Scout has had a kennel cough vaccine, but like the flu vaccine, that only covers certain strands of the illness and it's entirely possible that Digory has one that isn't covered. Hopefully Scout won't get it too, or we'll have to shove pills down her throat just as described above.

Posted by Shelby at 10:53 PM | Comments (4)

Not Much New

Haven't had a lot to blog about the last couple of days. Digory continues to do very well. Two days ago we were having some dominance issues between him and Scout. Vigilant supervision and a carefully timed spray bottle seems to be controlling the matter. Digory didn't try any dominance tricks yesterday, which was good, and made one pass this morning which Kevin was there to witness. A verbal, "Digory, NO!" was enough to dissuade him. I think that Digory is just testing his boundaries in the pack.

We did wake up to a cacophony of barking this morning. It's really our fault for not training Scout not to bark in the morning. Scout knows that she's not allowed out of the crate until she's quiet so she barks but shuts up as soon as we come near so she can get out. Digory, on the other hand, hasn't figured that out yet. So we both stood over him for several minutes this morning watching him get more and more worked up, howling his head off. And boy, can that dog howl. I'm so glad we're in our own house and not sharing walls with anyone. Anyway, once he paused we let him out, but we're definitely going to have to work on that. It's something we need to work on with both dogs. A big part of that is going to be catching them before the barking frenzy because once Digory gets going, he's gone. We're going to have to adjust our schedule and continue our training to get this under control.

Special thanks go to Annastazia, who has been giving us a lot of help and guidance as we integrate Digory into our pack!

Posted by Shelby at 09:45 AM | Comments (1)