June 30, 2005

Houndini: Foiled!

Compared to Scout, Digory is a Big Boy. At 33 willfull pounds, he basically dragged me around everywhere. I just couldn't control him on-leash.

Yes, we tried the Halti. Yes, we tried the Gentle Leader. Neither worked. He was able, in true Houndini style, to escape each and every one. Until now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce...The Sporn Halter

As you can see, the halter goes around the neck with a built-in collar and then goes under each front leg. The secret to the Sporn Halter is that when Digory pulls, the harness tightens around his chest and legs. Not only can he not get the thing off, it has almost completely stopped his pulling.

We took our first walk tonight and oh, it was torturous. He squeaked that high pitched bark over and over again. We couldn't figure out if the halter was too tight and hurting him, or if he was just frustrated that he couldn't pull like he wanted to. By the end of the walk he was quiet, so it was definitely frustration. Except when we passed the yard of a dog--then he went ballistic and harness-be-damned, dragged me over there. But except for that isolated incident, we have found the answer to our problems. Amazing.

Of course, the quest for the Houndini-proof seatbelt is another story. We have now ordered this harness, designed for Search and Rescue dogs. When the webpage said,"A generous ergonomic cut delivers a full range of motion yet ensures security that even Houdini would be challenged to escape." I thought finally--here's an escape-proof harness. Somehow we'll attach the car seatbelt to it. I wonder if we get a refund if our Houndini escapes after all. Special thanks to Staz for suggesting this seatbelt/harness. Let's hope it works!

Posted by Shelby at 06:05 PM

June 29, 2005

Missing in Action

A pair of my shorts have gone AWOL. I honestly can't find them anywhere. I don't know what the deal is--where they could have gone to. It's actually rather irritating, especially since I spilled something on my current pair of shorts and need to change.

Edited to add: I found them! They were, of all places, in a drawer. I'm just a little bit embarrassed.

Posted by Shelby at 12:55 PM | Comments (3)

June 27, 2005

My Contribution to Science

MIT is conducting a survey about bloggers. At least I think it's MIT. Either it's MIT or it's someone who very cleverly imitated MIT. Anyway, the survey doesn't take too long to fill out and you could be contributing to science!

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Aside from the forced psychological experiments I did in order to pass my Intro to Psychology class at Purdue, the most interesting survey I ever took was a language story run by Harvard to map the use of regional colloquialisms. That one was fun and was hugely long. This one is not so long.

Posted by Shelby at 10:37 AM

June 25, 2005


Today Kevin and I are doing some shoppertainment. Nothing major--off to Michaels to check out scrapbooking supplies (no, I'm not scrapbooking--working on another project I'll explain later), then to Target to replace the sour gumballs I had that Kevin chewed up. I have a strange way of eating gumballs. Well I don't swallow them, I only chew them for about 5 minutes or until all the flavor is gone. Then I spit 'em out and pop in a new one. Why chew flavorless gum when you can just get a fresh piece?

Our dinner destination is Hooters. Hooters is a chain of restaurants known for, well, the hooters on the female servers. Also their buffalo wings. The servers all wear tight clothes and celebrate their sexuality. But the wings are good. Actually I really like the buffalo shrimp--yum!

The kicker is that everyone who loves hooters loves Hooters. Or, actually, not. The only way I'm getting Kevin to take me there is because I got a gift card from a secret pal after I specified that I adored good wings on my info list. What a great secret pal I had!

Hooray--I'm gettin' me some buffalo wings/shrimp tonight!

Posted by Shelby at 03:57 PM

June 24, 2005

So Where have I Been, Anyway?

In an exciting flashback to the hellish year known as 2002, I have spent a large part of this week in the hospital. Don't worry--everything's fine.

Monday I had severe stomach cramps related to that exciting time of the month, and in the evening I woke up from a nap and went to take some more ibuprofen. Pills and glass in hand, I headed to the refrigerator to get some water and then took a nose dive. I mean that literally. All I remember is the sound of the glass shattering on the floor, the edge of the counter speeding toward my face, and coming to sitting in a pile of glass with Kevin holding me up trying to keep me from laying down in the glass which I apparently really wanted to do. I had totally passed out, smacking my nose on the edge of the counter (rounded, thankfully) on the way down. I was completely disoriented with a bloody nose, so Kevin got me to the bed and called 911. Off I went in an ambulance (no lights or sirens) to the closest hospital.

Where I stayed from Monday night through Thursday night. Fun! I had basically every conceivable test known to mankind and it was 100% NOT heart-related. Phew! It also wasn't a seizure, thanks to a rather unpleasant EEG brain scan. They attach electrodes to your head and I though they were going to glue them like they do for a sleep study. Nope, they have little pins on the ends and they just poke them into your skin. Nice. When he took them off he blotted my head with a towel and tiny spots of blood came off. Extra nice.

I had an ICD interrogation (completely silent--no activity) and an echo, which actually showed an improvement in my heart function, which was good news. I even had a stress test, where they used a drug to dilate my blood vessels instead of making me run on the treadmill. That was interesting. But again the results were completely normal--no coronary artery disease.

The verdict was that the cramps were menstrual. I have NEVER had anything like this before and am frankly terrified that it might happen again, so I have a follow up appointment with my gynecologist on Wednesday to discuss my options. After ruling out just about every other possibility, we decided that the fainting was a vaso vagal response due to the pain, possible low blood pressure, and a falling heart rate (but not enough to be picked up by my ICD--that would have to be below 40 bpm which is really slow).

All in all I held up rather good emotionally during the visit, unlike my last visit where I went completely bonkers. The hardest part, as usual, was waiting for all of the tests and for the doctors to show up. So anyway, that's where I've been lately and I'm SO glad to be home and in my own bed with my beagles.

Posted by Shelby at 11:55 AM | Comments (8)

June 16, 2005

Earthquakes and other Non-Events

So we got this earthquake earlier today. A 4.9 (originally estimated at a 5.3, this is a significant reduction) outside of Yucaipa. Do I know where Yucaipa is? Uh, not really--but I know the general area, and I definitely wouldn't call it the "Greater Los Angeles Area" as the USGS site does. It's not even in Los Angeles County. It's not even in Orange County (which, for the non-Californians, is East and South of Los Angeles County).

But anyway, like Sunday's quake it really wasn't a big deal at all. Sunday's was in Anza, which is extremely close to the summer camp I used to work at. While Sunday's quake was larger, a 5.2, we didn't feel it as much as this afternoon's quake. Of course, Sunday's quake was further away (they didn't even bother to claim the "Greater Los Angeles Area" for that one), it also was a much smoother rolling motion than today's. Today's was also noticeably shorter. I suppose I could have ducked under my desk (the appropriate thing to do in a quake) but by the time the thought processed and it would have taken me to get out of my chair and get down there, the quake was over. And I was sitting at my desk, so that should give you an idea of how short it was.

As for the Tsunami warning--well as I reported below, we were at Disneyland the entire evening and missed the festivities entirely. We're also nowhere near the coast so I wouldn't have worried there. We also don't watch TV and rarely listen to the radio in the house so chances are good we only would have seen it on the internet and would have missed the frenzy anyway.

So that's your earthquake update. Back to you, Tom.

Posted by Shelby at 07:07 PM | Comments (2)

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow, what a busy week this one has been! For starters, yesterday was my birthday . It was very low-key, consisting of a couple of appointments and dinner at our new favorite restaurant, the Lazy Dog Cafe. I got great presents from Kevin, even though a few are still en route. Today the mailman delivered my brand-new iPod mini! It's so cool.

But the whole week has been full. As I mentioned, Saturday was the Arts and Crafts show, Sunday was the home tour. Monday I had a doctor appointment in Los Angeles (a 50 minute drive there and an hour and 45 minuts home ). Tuesday I met a really wonderful woman from my online ICD community, the Zapper board. Linda was vacationing from Virginia and we met up for lunch. We headed to Downtown Disney where she was quite amazed to see all of the new features. New being that the last time she went to Disneyland was in the 50's shortly after it opened. She couldn't believe they'd built an entire other amusement park (Disney's California Adventure) in what used to be the parking lot.

Tuesday night we headed back to Disneyland to go into the park this time. We specifically wanted to watch the parade and the fireworks with my friend Jamie who, although she works there, had never seen either show. The parade was fantastic--second only to the original Electrical Parade (which now runs through CA Adventure--although it's just not the same!). And the fireworks were still very cool. We were right in front of the castle this time and it turned out that to the right and further back was actually an even better viewing point. Unfortunately the evening was marred by two complete JERKS taking up a ton of room and being incredibly rude to other people. I mean come on, it's Disneyland in the summer and it's crowded. Just because you set out your king-sized tarp (I exaggerate, but not by much) doesn't give you the right to be rude to the point of flipping people off. And one guy actually used the f-word at a grandmother holding her grandchild. The poor woman started to cry. It was awful that people are selfish that way.

Anyway, I covered Wednesday above, and today is our big Free Day (or mine anyway, Kevin still has to work). I celebrated by sleeping in and cuddling with Digory. Tomorrow we're off to a wine tasting and Saturday it's my cousins Tracy and Geoff's graduation with their MBAs from UC Irvine.

Phew! It's been busy, but I promise to blog more often once things slow down.

Posted by Shelby at 02:30 PM

June 12, 2005

Arts and Crafts

We are all about Arts and Crafts these days, and I'm not talking about the hobby, I'm talking about the Arts and Crafts movement. Now that we're all cozy in our little bungalow, we're turning our sights to the little historic details that make a house a home.

So yesterday we went to the Arts and Crafts conference at Disney's Grand Californian, a hotel at the Disney resort which, as you may recall, is about 2-3 miles down the street. It couldn't have been more convenient. We wandered around the exhibits drooling at the beautiful hand crafted furniture and dropping our jaws to the floor at the price of the beautiful hand crafted furniture. We were also gathering ideas about historically appropriate textiles for curtains and just some general decorating ideas. I decided that we are very lucky--Mission style furniture is simple and classic, and still produced today, so we're not stuck paying thousands of dollars for a coffee table (although this one coffee table was so cool!). We also realized the bedroom set and secretary we picked up fit right in historically so we chose well.

Continuing on the theme, today we took the Anaheim Historical Society's Arts and Crafts Home Tour. It was fascinating. We saw some absolutely gorgeous restoration work. In many cases we got to talk to the owners about their historical work--most were absolutely passionate about the preservation and restoration they'd done. It was fun to be able to say (about our house) "They took the doors off the built-in and painted it white!" and have them make that pained, emapthetic face and point to their own built-ins that had been stripped down to the original gorgeous wood. That's on my list of things to do.

We found that many, if not most houses had been moved like ours was, and most were built around 1915. Ours is about 9 years younger than that. We still haven't learned where our house was moved from, so we don't know if there are any original blueprints or tax documents verifying the year it was built, but we'd love to get ahold of those, especially the blueprint, as it's really unclear where the kitchen was.

I particularly looked at bathrooms, since we're considering an upcoming remodel of our front bathroom. Kevin and I agree that we want small hexagonal tiles for the floor and subway tiles on the wall. I also want to add a shower rail and shower attachment to our clawfoot tub. We got a lot of great ideas for bathrooms so that alone was worthwhile.

Posted by Shelby at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2005


Boy, today has been one big sleep-fest, and I'm already tired again. I've been sleeping less the last few days and it looks like it's finally caught up with me. I slept for 12 hours last night, then took a longish nap today, and I'm still tired. Looks like I'll be going to bed early.

Posted by Shelby at 10:45 PM

June 09, 2005

Stroke My Ego...

Or cut me down to size...your choice

Here's the rules: complete the sentences below in a comment. Feel free to express your true emotions. I can handle it. I have a good therapist.

I ____ Shelby.
Shelby is ____.
Shelby thinks a lot about _______.
When I think of _________, I think of Shelby.
If I were alone in a room with Shelby, I would _______.
I think Shelby should _____.
Shelby needs ______.
I want to ____________ Shelby.
If I could describe Shelby in a word: _______.

Thanks to Mom With Attitude!

Posted by Shelby at 09:12 AM | Comments (3)

June 07, 2005

It's Official

I have now published my very first magazine article. I've been keeping it under wraps in case it didn't work out for some reason, but it's final now. The article is on adopting a second dog and even includes pictures of Scout and the Dig-Man. Email me at shelby@happybeagle.com if you want to see the PDF.

Posted by Shelby at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

Herzlichen Glückwunsch

Herzlichen Glückwunsch to my longtime reader Ira, who gave birth to a BEAUTIFUL baby girl on the 5th. Welcome to the world, little girl!

Posted by Shelby at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

It's Ponytail Time!

I'm so excited--I can get my hair into a ponytail. A leeeeeetle teeeeeeeny tiiiiiiny ponytail, but a ponytail nonetheless. This marks a milestone in my plan to grow out my hair. I haven't been ponytail-enabled since my wedding, 3.5 years ago.

As any person who has ever tried to grow his or her hair out [sentence removed because it didn't make sense in a gender neutral way] can tell you, there are certain stages that hair goes through on its way to Long. The short haircut is a very freeing style, allowing little shampoo and conditioner to be used. Then there's That Stage where your hair is too long to be considered short, and too short to be considered long. This stage is particularly annoying as it's marked by an abundance of hair in the face since it's no longer to short to bother you, but it's not long enough to pull back. I wear a lot of Chapstick and this stage is particularly annoying to me because my hair sticks to my lips all the time. This stage is also obnoxious when it comes to driving with the windows/top down, as it blows around and into my eyes.

Many people give up at this stage and chop it off again. That's what I've been doing for the last 3 years. However, this time around I thought I'd stick it out. And guess what? It worked! I have now reached the ponytail stage where I don't actually have a ponytail, but I can gather my hair in the back with an elastic and it won't fall into my face anymore. I'm so excited!

[Editor's note: How could I have done this?! Dave pointed out to me that it's not the 50s anymore and women aren't the only ones who grow their hair out from short to long--and you call yourself a feminist? (well he didn't put exactly that way but that was the gist). So I have replaced "woman" above with "person" and apologies all around to all of the wonderful long-haired men I know.]

Posted by Shelby at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)

June 05, 2005

A Wine Tasting Not Connected To My Parents

Yes, it's one of those most unusual events--a wine tasting not connected to my parents. Our local wine store, the Wine Exchange (quite possibly my dad's favorite store beyond Big Lots and Costco), offers tastings for a small fee (in this case, 21 wines for $18--you can't beat that anywhere!). This was how my parents originally got into wine tasting and they have encouraged us to start tasting outside of their wine group.

We went on Saturday and it really was a lot of fun. There was a man and a woman pouring and Kevin noticed that when the man was pouring, the ladies got a leeeeetle bit extra--as it should be! Anyway, they were very nice and were happy to discuss the blends to us. The theme of this tasting was, "Rhone and the Sud Reloaded," and the wines were all French from the Rhone region. Lots of Grenache-Syrah blends, Cote du Rhones, and even a couple of rose', finishing with a Muscat.

Everyone in the room was taking copious notes--it looked like some were going to need extra pieces of paper. Since Kevin and I lack the vocabulary to define wine (our knowledge lingers around "The illusion of sweetness" and our family joke, "Fruity!") it was difficult for us to take notes. Kevin didn't even try, but I made an attempt. Looking back, I realize my notes were, shall we say, less than helpful. Some of them include:

Good--Nice summer wine--bit overpriced
No thanks
Smells fruity but doesn't deliver
Kevin likes, I don't
Smooth--not much else--will probably age well
Nice--possibly buy
Also nice but [above] is better
We approve! (Wonder why?) [editor's note--that wine was $46.99 a bottle]
Simple @ beginning w/increasing complexity

And the Muscat?...

"Like drinking a sugar cube."

All in all I think we did well with our limited vocabulary. We found a bottle we really wanted to bring to FAWG (the Friday Afternoon Wine Group--a wine tasting group that meets weekly (for the last 18 years), attended by my parents, and one which we joined by virtue of my birthright as Gary Rosiak's daughter). We didn't go home with any other bottles but found a nice group of interesting wines we might want to return to in the future. I would call the wine tasting a smashing success!

But seriously, we're thinking of taking a class so we can get the lingo down.

Posted by Shelby at 09:44 PM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2005

Another Day, Another Meme

A meme from Annastazia:

A version of this meme was the one of the first memes I ever completed in my blogging career. My first round came from the wonderful Dave Tepper. Ahhhh, the memories. Anyway, without further adieu,

The Official Interview Game Rules:
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Wanna play? Leave a comment and I will ask you all sorts of schtuff.

Now, some questions just for me, from Staz...

1. Who's your literary hero?
Oh my gosh, I have to narrow it down to ONE?! Okay, this is going to be tough. First, it should be a woman. I do admire men but I think even in literature there still exists some inequality between men and women. Second, it's an author who writes for young people because I feel that writing good fiction for children and young adults requires a greater level of skill than writing for an adult audience (I could go on and on about literature for children and how it compares to adult literature, but I'll leave it there for now). Third, I know this isn't a requirement, but I'd like to pick someone who is still alive. Why? Because I want to. Fourthly (ha ha), I'd like to pick someone who has won top awards in their field (in this case, that would be the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, juvenile category). And finally, it has to be someone whose work overall I admire (as opposed to just one or two books). So that brings me to the very talented:

Katherine Paterson

Please note the single t. Haven't read her? I highly recommend starting with Bridge to Terebithia (not a fantasy novel) and Jacob Have I Loved.

Long enough answer for ya?

2. What's something that you do every day that most people don't know about?
I eat a granola bar for breakfast every day.

3. What's your worst habit?
Slouching (followed closely by procrastination)

4. What's your favorite moment of the past 48 hours?
Being able to get out of our parking spot at the Hollywood Bowl after seeing a performance of Prairie Home Companion. Getting to the parking lot was like navigating one of Dante's levels of Hell, but once we got there I'd anticipated having to sit in our car for another hour while the other cars that blocked us moved. Instead, we found our car completely in the open and were able to pull out with no problem.

5. If you hadn't become a writer, what would you have been?
Hmmmm. What would I have liked to have been, or what would I realistically be doing right now? Well since the question didn't specify, I'll answer both. First, writing is the number 1 thing I want to do, so it's not like I'm stuck in some kind of job I hate (although if you read this site at all, you already know that). However, if I weren't writing, my number 2 choice would be to be a university professor--but only at the university of my choosing. It's quite rare for English professors to get to choose a university, so that's why I scrapped my plans for getting my doctorate and doing that. Realistically, if I weren't doing creative writing right now I'd most likely be doing technical writing still.

Thanks Staz! And remember, if anyone wants some questions from me, leave a note in the comments.

Posted by Shelby at 07:46 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2005

Dig-Man, The New Houdini

Well Digory has managed to do something quite amazing--escape from his seatbelt. We should have been forwarned when he easily escaped from his Halti leader No, it's not a muzzle. It's like a bridle for a horse that guides the dog gently without pulling on a neck collar. In theory.

So Digory makes short work of the Halti, no matter how much we tighten it. So much for that. So then we get to Sunday. We're off to a dinner at my parents and decided to bring Dig along (he's never been there before). For some reason Digory hates the car (so does Scout). He can't be trusted to be loose in the car because he basically wants to help you drive by stepping on the gear shift (in a stick shift car), putting his paws on the steering wheel, and sitting on your lap. And there's also the safety issue of his either getting hurt in an accident (sad) or the more callous issue of him becoming a flying projectile in an accident.

So enter the Doggie Seatbelt:

It's a harness with a strap in the back through which you put the car seatbelt, and all are safe. The one pictured above is the same model as Scout's. Digory's is slightly different but the design is basically the same--strap around the neck, one behind the front legs, connected in back.

So Kevin gets Dig's seatbelt on, then comes back into the house to get something else. We go outside to see Digory sticking his head out the window looking very happy, sans seatbelt. Okay, so maybe Kevin didn't tighten the straps enough. Put it on again, Digory squirms his way out, big proud grin on his face. Tighten it up again, put it on, watch Houdini escape. What to do next? How about using Scout's smaller seatbelt? Houdini escapes again. And again. Now what? How about both seatbelts at the same time? Once again, Digory makes short work of those and is soon free, proud as can be.

Well we just ended up going to Torrance without him. But what to do next time? We're still brainstorming options. Temporarily we could put Scout's smaller crate in the car (his is too big to fit) but where does that leave us when we get rid of the Contour? My personal favorite solution is the Doggie Duffel bag--buy a duffel bag, cut holes for his head, legs, and tail, zip him up and strap him in. We're still bouncing some other ideas around but all suggestions are welcome.

Posted by Shelby at 11:02 PM | Comments (2)