Sunday, January 30, 2011

Greener thumbs and pastures

I just accidentally "marked all as read" in Google Reader. It was super frustrating (but oddly strangely liberating at the same time). I hope I didn't miss anything important on the Internets. I pride myself on my blog stalking.


I start my new job tomorrow. Yikes!


Does you know of any good landscaping blogs? (As in the garden part of "home and garden," not personal grooming.) I have found more home design blogs than I have time to read, but my only inspiration for gardening at the moment is an old DVD of The Secret Garden. I'm not sure that Abe can stand listening to me wander around saying, "I'm in the gahhhhden... with Co-linnn...." so any suggestions are appreciated.


Have a great week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Musings of the museless

With all my free time I have this week, I should really be doing nothing but writing (comedy, blog posts... something!), but it hasn't worked out that way. I choose to blame my spotty internet connection and the fact that I store all of my documents "in the cloud." (I'm also really nervous that I'm not going to get this all straightened out before I start working from home next week, so I've spent a lot of time biting my nails and/or on the phone with various tech support people.)

No ability to focus = random thoughts. On to the bullet points!
  • I took my nephew with me to the feed store this morning so that I could make sure they sold the breed of chicks I'm hoping to get. (They do.) Charlie seemed a little afraid of the baby chicks and ducklings, but wanted to run onto the loading dock to get a better look at the heavy lifting equipment. Little boys are funny. I bought him a cap gun, because it seemed like the most irresponsible thing in the store (aside from the heavy lifting equipment). I imagine that when Abe and I have kids, payback will not be fun.
  • My friend's dog had puppies. As much as I want to go sit in a box full of puppies and have them climb all over me, I think instead I'm going to send her my thoughts on dog breeding and ask her if she feels comfortable discussing the issue with me. Hopefully, she won't breed her dog again.
  • We have had some interest from renters about our condo, which is kind of a relief and a stressor at the same time. I'm too young to be a landlady!
  • I was almost run over by a speeding FedEx truck today while taking in the recycling bin. The driver saw me at the last minute and swerved out of the way. My father and Charlie drove up just in time to witness the almost-accident. It turned out the truck was delivering a package to my parents' house down the street. The box contained carpet tiles for Abe's and my garage, which my dad wanted to install as a surprise. What do you call almost-horrible-dramatic irony?
  • Our dryer hasn't been hooked up yet, so I've been hanging everything to dry. Honestly, I can't tell a difference between clothes I've hung to dry and clothes that have been dried in a dryer. I'm beginning to wonder if my clothes dryer is a "convenience" that isn't necessarily always more convenient. I am all about skipping steps, especially when laundry is involved.
  • I need to post pictures of our house. It is sort of half-finished. The outside is being painted today, which will hopefully make it look less peel-y. We still have somuchwork. I'm remembering why owing a condo sounded so appealing.
Anyhoo, hope all is well in your neck of the woods, Internets. I think it might be nap time again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pass the bon-bons; I could get used to this

I have a week off between jobs. I haven't been a *complete* bump on a log. I mean, we moved last weekend, and I've mostly unpacked, and I'm taking my niece to her swimming lesson this Thursday (which should be adorable), and I've set up pest control and cable and internet and phone service...

But... To be honest? Mostly, I've been napping, watching Netflix, and listening to this album.

I should probably get moving before I start growing moss. I think I might need another nap first, though.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday thoughts

As I was leaving my house this morning, two of my neighbors were standing in the parking lot talking. I didn't recognize them (I have a really hard time recognizing even close acquaintances), but they looked up at me, so I waved.

One of them bolted across the parking lot and into her condo.

It was Neighbor With Psycho Boyfriend. Thanks to my inability to recognize faces, I am pretty sure I have inadvertently become Possible Sociopath Neighbor.

Who waves (and smiles somewhat blankly or creepily, depending on whether you prefer me to be a gynoid or a Glenn Close in this scenario) at the person whose boyfriend threw poop at her front door? Apparently I do.



We are (finally) moving this weekend. There's still so much work to be done at the condo and the house. It's overwhelming, but at least we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I didn't take any "before" pictures (I am lazy), but I will try to post some "in between" pictures so that you guys can give me decorating advice.


We have had approximately one week of semi-winter-like weather in Austin (and by winter-like, I mean darkish, rainy, and mildly cold), and I'm already ready for spring. Mostly, I'm just ready for Daylight Savings Time and longer days in general. Sure, I'll be sad to lose an hour of sleep, but the extra sunshine will make up for it.


Abe's childhood best friend (and my prom date) just invited us to his wedding. Abe and I are both really excited for him. D's one of those guys whose done so many different, interesting things (qualified for and run the Boston Marathon, volunteered in the Peace Corps, lived in Spain, biked across country, etc., etc., etc.), that I wasn't sure he'd ever find someone who could keep up with him. However, I'm pretty sure his fiancee fits the bill. (At our wedding, I told them they'd have really athletic babies someday. This is why I don't drink champagne!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Coming cleanish

I've been avoiding this post for about a week (because I think there's a chance I might have made a mistake) but there's really no turning back at this point, so I might as well just say it:

I am changing jobs.

(Phew. That was not so bad.)

I am downsizing (-ish), taking a job with less responsibility and less stress (and yes, less pay). I weighed the pros and cons, and while I think this is the right move, there's always an element of doubt that creeps in with capital-letters Life Change.

I had been thinking about my career a lot since I got laid off last summer. I wasn't unhappy at my current job (my coworkers are nice, the benefits are great), but I wasn't really doing a very good job at it, either. I am a person who likes programming well enough; surrounded by people who *love* it, I felt like (and was, really) the weakest link. It's hard to spend 40 hours a week feeling utterly incompetent. It's even harder when your team is so nice about the fact that you're failing them on a daily basis.

While I don't necessarily think that this new job is my dream job, I do think it could serve as a great stepping stone. If you'll forgive the mixed metaphor, I think it may just be the key that unlocks the golden handcuffs that have kept me at my non-dream job.

For now, I think that's fine with me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In which I get into dog politics

As I mentioned yesterday, one of my friends just bred her dog. She asked me if I thought she was a bad person for breeding her (far from show quality) boxer, and I didn't know what to say.

I have strong but mixed feelings on dog breeding.

Both Bailey and my childhood dog Kahn were adopted from our local (kill) animal shelter. I intentionally chose to adopt mixed breed dogs both times (yes, even as a seven-year-old). For one thing, purebred dogs are more likely to be plucked out of kill shelters by rescue groups and I wanted to save a dog from euthanasia; for another, Bailey and Kahn were exceptionally cute. I also felt that mixed breed dogs had some advantages over purebred dogs.

I will be the first to admit that my anecdotal evidence is not valid scientific evidence. However, I will say that Kahn was exceptionally healthy for a large dog: he was 16 when he got arthritis and had to be put to sleep. Aside from a bee sting (which cleared on its own before we could get him to the vet), he never had a single health problem before the arthritis. Bailey just turned 8; although he has a nervous stomach and some allergies, he is an otherwise very healthy large dog with great joints and teeth, and is routinely mistaken for a 1- or 2-year-old puppy. I believe both dogs benefited from hybrid vigor.

On the other hand, both Kahn and Bailey grew much larger than predicted by the animal shelter. Both times, we thought we were getting 30-40 pound dogs, not 65 pound miniature ponies. We had no idea what to expect of their temperaments, coats, or exercise requirements. (Since both dogs were what my old vet Dr. Hot referred to as "a mix of every type of dog you'd expect to jump a fence in [a questionable Austin neighborhood]", we should have probably expected the following: strong prey drives, athleticism, and exceptional guard dog abilities.) Both dogs grew double coats that were not ideal for the allergy sufferers in my family. There were times when unexpected problems (Bailey's worship at the altar of non-stop barking, unexpected small animal aggression issues in both dogs, questions about whether mixed breed dogs by their very nature violate homeowners insurance rules against pit bulls) made us question whether or not we ever should have gotten dogs in the first place.

My experiences owning Bailey as an adult and helping raise Kahn as a child led me to my current position on dog breeding and adoption:

  • The ideal first dog is an older dog from a shelter or rescue group. You won't have to worry about its personality changing or it suddenly growing a double coat. Frequently, older dogs have had some (or lots of) training. Older dogs are (generally) a lot less work, and a lot easier for beginners. (Yes, they love you just as much. OMG. Seriously.)
  • Since just about everyone will ignore that advice (because OMG puppiez!!)(I am also guilty), I think there are two other good options:
  1. Research dog breeds that suit your lifestyle (think 10 years from now, not just 10 minutes) and buy a puppy from a reputable breeder.
  2. If you are a bit more flexible in terms of your requirements, adopt a puppy from your local animal shelter.
  • Please don't get a purebred dog from a breeder on the side of the road. Please don't get a puppy from a friend-of-a-coworker who "forgot" to get her dog spayed. While I'm sure both are probably perfectly nice people, they are contributing to the problem of unwanted dogs in shelters. Please, please don't buy a dog from a pet store.
  • Unless you know what you are doing and have an exceptionally healthy, high-quality, purebred dog, your dog needs to be spayed or neutered. The dog will be healthier and you will be saner. Bob Barker would thank you. Don't breed your purebred dog unless you have prearranged, well-screened homes for the puppies.
All of this is a long-winded way of asking you, Internets, how I should tell my friend I think she's made a terrible decision? How to I (gently) advise her against breeding her dog again?

"Millie" has always been a fairly responsible dog owner (aside from not spaying her dog). She loves her dog the way we should all love our dogs, and takes excellent care of her. I have no doubt that the puppies and mama dog will get proper veterinary care, and that Millie will do her best to try to find good homes for the pups. On the other hand, Millie's giving one of the puppies to her brother, who is notorious for keeping dogs until they are no longer puppies and then losing them or giving them away. She's also not entirely sure that she has homes for the other puppies.

I am not allowing myself to meet the puppies, because I'm afraid that with our new big backyard and Abe's love of boxers, we'll end up with one. I am not immune to puppy kisses.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blogiverse non-awesomeness

Dear Internets,

Sometimes I am not the brightest tool in the package of lightbulbs.

This is one of those times.

A week or so ago, some guy I'd never heard of emailed me to ask me if I wanted to buy the domain

"" I thought. "Surely someone is not trying to steal JamieLovely's internet identity?"

I checked All seemed normal.

Mistake the first
I did some thinking. "Jamie's readers number in the thousands," I thought. "This guy probably saw my blog, realized that I blog for ten or so people (on a good day), and figured he could scam me out of a credit card number."

Mistake the second
"I'll show him," I thought. "I'm not falling for this."

Mistake the third
I archived the email and promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to about an hour ago. Lovely Jamie tweets that someone bought her domain name out from under her.

She is freaking out.

I feel an awful sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

"I don't know how to say this..." I start to write.


I feel AWFUL. Forwarding that email to Jamie with a quick, "Um, hey, WTFBBQ girl, everything OK w/your domain?" would have taken mayyyyyybe 5 seconds.

I think ultimately, I didn't forward the email because Jamie is kind of a big deal. What would she think if I emailed her out of the blue? What if all 5,000 of her blog readers/Twitter followers got the email? Surely one of them would have said something if it was legit. Worse, what if it wasn't legit? I'd look like the kind of girl who'd send money to get a Nigerian government official out of jail.

I didn't want Jamie to think I was some hayseed blogger who doesn't understand how the Internets works.

(Um, yeah. That worked out really well for me.)

The moral of this story is that the Internet is kind of like real life. Sometimes, you have to have the huevos to risk looking foolish or to talk to someone who intimidates you. Otherwise, you may end up being the person who was too distracted to save someone a lot of heartache.

Don't be a Jane.

Random Thoughts Wednesday

I guess I've been reading Kim and Hillary's blogs for too long, because feel sort of weird posting random thoughts on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday or a Friday. However, it's my first day back at work and I'm in a bullet points-y kind of mood today, so random thoughts/Wednesday faff is what you're gonna get.
  • I haven't seen my neighbor's crazy boyfriend since the poo incident. I'm hoping everything will blow over, and we will be able to move away without any more problems. I really do feel sorry for the girl -- she doesn't seem to be particularly crazy, just young. I also keep reminding myself that you should never argue with idiots, because they will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. (I think the same rule applies to arguing with crazy people.)
  • Abe was kind of grumpy with me last night. I tossed and turned until he finally got up and slept on the couch. However, I think he sort of shares the blame for the debacle; I had fallen asleep for about 30 minutes when he came upstairs and woke me up to tell me goodnight. While I realize he was being sweet, my right side was sore from my stitches and vaccine and I was running a slight fever, so I could never really get comfortable again. Fortunately, we had both gotten over our grumpiness by this morning.
  • One of my friends just became a backyard dog breeder. She asked me if I thought she was a bad person, and I didn't know what to say. (I thought I was going to get away with making this a random thought, but my feelings on the subject are complex enough that I think they are going to turn into a post.)
  • My cubicle mate just announced that she's pregnant. I'm so freaking jealous. I keep telling myself that well-meaning family and friends would smother me with affection/questions/advice if I got pregnant right now, and that it would drive me crazy, but I keep landing back on jealous.
  • I think Depeche Mode should create their own line of individually wrapped cheddar products: Your Own... Personal... Cheeses

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baby New Year seems like kind of a jerk

I almost always try to cram too many things into my last couple days of vacation. Eye appointments, vet appointments, laundry. The list goes on and on.

Today after an unsuccessful visit to the eye doctor (they changed ownership and no longer take my insurance), I grabbed fast food lunch (the healthy eating will start tomorrow, I guess), and headed home to watch bad television and finish some laundry.

I heard what sounded like a series of loud knocks on the door. Thinking it was an overly-assertive UPS guy, I opened the door.

Smashed eggs and dog poo slid down the door and into the entryway. I saw my neighbor's boyfriend walking across the parking lot away from our door and back to his girlfriend's condo.

Said neighbor's boyfriend has been known to be kind of a jerk. In the past few weeks, his (off-leash) dog has attacked Bailey twice, once while I was getting out of my car and was physically unable to get out from the middle of the dog fight. Abe and I both suggested he walk his dog on a leash to avoid future altercations. He replied that we were "f---ing f----ts." For the next few days, he made a point of creepily watching me as I walked to my car on my way to work.

Still, this latest act seemed really violent and out-of-the-blue. I called the police and the property management company.

The property manager was on the phone with another owner when I called. When she called back, she told me that she'd been on the phone with another owner whose dog had been attacked by the boyfriend's off-leash dog that morning. As a result of the morning's dog attack (as well as several other reports from other residents), the boyfriend and his dog (neither of whom were on the lease) had been evicted a few hours prior.

Apparently, the jerk boyfriend assumed that since we were the ones who'd complained to him about his off-leash dog, we were the ones who got him evicted.

Of course, when the police officer questioned him about the dog feces and eggs on our door, the boyfriend denied any involvement and said he'd seen "suspicious looking kids wandering around the complex." While the police officer is filing a report (which will help if a pattern of psycho behavior develops), it's really our word against crazy boyfriend's at this point.

To top all this off, when the police officer came by to talk to me, Bailey got so excited that he knocked a glass off the coffee table and broke it. I tried to clean it up too quickly and cut my hand.

Five stitches and a tetanus shot later, I think it's safe to say that this has been kind of a bad day.