grace in small dogs

These days Maude seems to have forgotten how to go up and down the stairs.  I taught her (or coaxed her) way back when I got her five years ago, but now we’re back to square one. Every time I take her outside I have to talk her into going down the stairs, and sometimes even that doesn’t work. She stands on the top step and paces back and forth, staring down at me.

I’m not overly concerned about this, since her behavior is normal otherwise, but I am a little worried. Things have been tough for me lately, especially work-wise, and some days Maude is one of the only things I can think of that makes me happy.  What would life be like without her?

My friend Helen Jane has been doing a series of posts on her site called Grace in Small Things. Every day she lists a few of the small things she really loves. Maude’s a pretty small thing, but she’s not the only good thing, so I’m going to make a list of my own.

1. The way Maude’s upper lip catches on her left canine tooth, making her look sort of snarly in an adorable quiet Chihuahua way.

2. Hummus with snap peas for dipping.

3. The swimming pool at the apartment building next door. My landlord owns those apartments, too, and told the people in my building that we could use the pool.
3a. A new swimsuit that fits.
3b. Drinking Lone Star while swimming.

4. Sushi from Whole Foods–spicy tuna and a rainbow roll–eaten at home while watching old episodes of South Park. Lots of wasabi.

5. Old episodes of South Park, all available online for free. I know they’ve been there for awhile, but I’ve just started to take advantage of that, and boy do I love it.

6. Mending vintage clothes to make them look better and fit just right. Finding vintage sandals that are lovely and comfortable.

7. The view of the Pennybacker Bridge while sitting right in the lake.

8. Watching B. watch Breaking Bad for the first time. That show is wonderful, and I love that he likes it almost as much as I do. Yes, almost, but I don’t know if anyone likes that show as much as I do.

9. Sitting outside with friends after the sun goes down.

10. Walking into my apartment when I get home from work. Looking around my beautiful living room with a big sigh of relief. Getting a happy greeting from Maude before trying to coax her down the stairs.

hello, internets!

How’s it going?  Man, it’s been a little while.  Things still all right with you?  Still Twittering?  Far out.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

1. Adding things to the walls and ceiling of my apartment. B and I put up these shelves:

new shelves in the bedroom craft area!

Since I live in an apartment that was built in the fifties, my walls are made of spit and old newspapers, which I guess is what they had available at the time.  To get these shelves to stay, we put something like 30 holes in the wall, a few of them MASSIVE and unnecessary, most of them with hefty amounts of wood glue applied to them.  I think we did a decent job of making them look nice, but they do not look nice if you get too close.  Don’t get too close!

I put my bike up on the ceiling like this:

does this look just a little bit stupid or, like, monumentally stupid?

It does not look good, and I know it.  Several of my friends expressed concern that they’d come over, have a couple of drinks, and then end up with their hair tangled in the handlebars of a bicycle.  It’s a valid concern. Maybe I should all make them sign waivers when they come over.  Or maybe I should just think of something else.

2. Taking a photo every day.  This has been interesting, in the sense that I didn’t really think I had good things to take pictures of every day.  But I’ve improvised quite a bit, and despite a few lifeless outings I think the first month has gone pretty well.

What has not gone well is this. But I don’t really want to talk about that.

3. Trying out Weight Watchers.

not the kind of photo I'm going to post very often

I’ve been hesitant to talk about this because I know I’m within the healthy weight range for my height. I know I look fine. But I’m doing it anyway because of the following things:

a. I don’t feel quite comfortable in my body right now.

b. I’ve gained 30 pounds in the past seven years. I know that part of that is because I’m getting older and my metabolism is slowing down, but

c. The other part of it is that I don’t pay attention to what I eat.  I cook for myself more often than most, I eat more vegetables than most, and I don’t drink sodas very often, but I have a definite portion-control problem.  When I buy a frozen Amy’s pizza or a box of macaroni and cheese, I eat the whole thing.  When I go out to dinner with B I’ll usually eat everything on my plate and a few things from his, and I’ve still got room for dessert.

d. I have a closet full of beloved vintage and handmade clothing that fit me last year or the year before, but does not fit me now.  This is monumentally depressing.  I can’t re-make the handmade stuff, nor can I replace the vintage stuff easily.

If a-c weren’t factors I’d just let d go, but all four of these things have combined into one unhappy Alison. So Weight Watchers it is.  Thus far I’m happy with it. I’ll keep you posted, unless of course it doesn’t go well, in which case I’ll never mention it again!  Har har.

little tumblr-sized thoughts I’d write on tumblr if I had one (which I do, but there’s nothing there, and I only got it because I didn’t want anyone to take “bluishorange” before I did)

1. Last week I bought one of those digital-tv converter boxes so I can still watch Lost* after my television has become obsolete. This week I checked my mail and found the $40-off coupon for said box, which coupon I requested a month ago. If I were 45 years older and a lot crankier I’d take that coupon to Target and ask the returns desk to give me forty dollars. Then after they refused to give me forty dollars, I’d write a stern letter to the digital-tv converter box people and ask THEM to give me forty dollars.

But I’m 30 and not very cranky, so I’m not going to do any of that stuff. Instead I’m just going to pretend that coupon doesn’t exist, as is my custom with all such things I’m too lazy to do.

2. Freebirds, what is the point of selling me this chocolate-chip cookie if I can’t open it.  If I were 45 years older and a lot crankier I’d drive back over to your store and demand a different cookie, or my money back.**

3. I do not like spending the Friday before Valentine’s Day in an office setting.  My coworkers get flowers, and I say, ooh, sweet, you got flowers, and they say thanks!  And I feel like they’re thinking,*** I bet she wishes SHE’d gotten flowers.

What they don’t know is that I do not, in fact, wish I’d gotten flowers.  I’m not into Valentine’s Day at all, and in fact I told my potential flower-giver that while I’m glad we’ll be hanging out on the 14th doing whatever it is we usually do, I am not interested in gifts or cards or plants or edibles of any kind, thank you.****

But there’s no polite way to dispel their hypothetical thoughts without sounding weird or going off on an unnecessary and impolite tirade about how lame V-Day is.  So instead I just say ooh, sweet, you got flowers, and then walk back to my desk and put my headphones on.

4. The other day I was heard to remark, “Is it possible that I love my dog too much?” For those of you who think that it’s possible, I invite you to look upon her and tell me you don’t love her a bit too much, too:

my funny baby

She’ll be approximately nine in April, which will also mark her five-year anniversary of being my dog.  I think she looks much happier now than she did five years ago, don’t you?

*Also Dollhouse! Dollhouse comes on tonight!

**I got it open, though, aren’t you glad?

***I am not what I think other people might think of me, etc.

****I said it nicer than this.