I, too, am Simmering/Grousing

I was reading Swistle this morning, whose blog I adore, especially the hilarious way she writes about the small frustrations of life. It makes me feel better about my own small frustrations.

Back story: My dog is not, like, perfect-obedience-show-dog, okay? I would say, based on other dogs I have observed while walking mine/at the dog park, that he’s average. He’s not worse than the average small yappy dog (or even medium-ish dogs, like Labs) that see us and start pulling frantically on their leash/barking/chasing us, it just SEEMS worse because he’s quite a bit bigger than those dogs; i.e. a Pomeranian scurrying towards you on its tiny little legs barking in its cute little high pitched voice provokes an ‘aww, look at the cute little dog’ reaction while the sight of my large German Shepherd barrelling towards you volleying deep barks (the pitch of Duke’s excited bark is higher than his angry/warning bark, but not to anyone that doesn’t live with him) provokes a ‘holy shit that dog is fucking scary’ reaction (on a side note, I’m more scared of the Pomeranian. Have you ever looked into their eyes when they’re yipping furiously at you? They want blood, no joke).

Illustration of the difference:

Pomeranian. Well, that’s just a page of cute little fluffiness, isn’t it?


Yeah,he's almost as big as I am

Anyway, Duke hates the car, and the vet. He had to have surgery for an impacted bowel when he was about 7 or 8 months. The vet was rough with him, Duke has issues anyway, it’s now a lot of whining and stress when he has to go from the second he gets in the car. I found a vet in the city I used to work in that has a great bedside manner, all’s well that ends well, right?

Right. Except that Duke’s nails are a problem when they start getting long. The clippers sold in pet stores are woefully inadequate and crush/shatter his nails more than cut them. Which feeds into his dislike of having his paws touched. I take him to my vet, they cut them, we go to the dog park, it’s cool. But that’s 45 minutes away, so when I find out there’s a vet in a small town only 15 minutes away that’s supposed to be good I call. Eight bucks to trim his nails? Put us down for whenever’s not a high traffic time.

Which brings us (finally!) to the simmering/grousing. I get there, and have to fill out the new client sheet. During that time, about 4 dogs come and go. Uh, I’m not sure what your idea of not a lot of other dogs is, but it sure doesn’t match mine. It takes 10-15 minutes to actually get back to the room, where the vet asks me what they’re doing today. This is an irritation even when I’m at the doctor’s office myself-can’t you just read the form the nurse filled out after she asked me all the questions you just asked?

Anyway, I tell him Duke needs his nails clipped. I crouch down to hold Duke in a sort of bear hug/headlock pose that we use at the vet’s, and this guy says “We’ll put him on the table.”

WHAT? First off, he’s 90 pounds and like 5 feet long ish (going by his front paws on my shoulders means we’re eye to eye). That table in vet’s office are designed for cats and small dogs, don’t even front. Also, the reason I like my normal vet is that he’s all “If your dog is already stressed, putting him on the table will stress him out more . Usually animals are more docile when they’re in an unfamiliar environment such as being high up, but it isn’t necessary and there’s NO REASON TO ADD TO HIS STRESS” (emphasis mine) (obviously). So, he examines Duke while ones of us holds him in the aforementioned bear hug/headlock (bear lock?), thereby ensuring that everyone’s happier because they get to give/receive comfort as needed while also helping the vet do his job.

So, I tell the guy that he’ll have to let Duke warm up to him a little, explain the back story (in a summarized version so I don’t babble on forever like I did here). He lifts Duke onto the table facing the wall, away from me and has his vet-helper-whatever-her-title-is hold Duke. Great, now Duke is constantly trying turn around so he can see me. Then the vet pulls out A TINY CRAPPY PAIR OF PET STORE CLIPPERS. WTF?!! I saw him shatter 2 of Duke’s nails. Thanks a pants load, I could have done that myself, actually I’m paying you for the express reason of avoiding exactly what just happened. (Because at my vet’s they have huge, professional clippers that work on all dogs, so I mistakenly thought that was like, a thing. Like since all vets see a range of dogs, they all have clippers that can handle any size. I was wrong).

After the clipping, he gives Duke treats (still on the table) and does this weird thing where he’s talking to Duke in a nice tone and giving him treats but also trying to force Duke to make eye contact with him. Direct eye contact is not something Duke will do with us, even, unless he’s waiting for commands. As I understand from the books I’ve read, this is normal for dogs, because direct eye contact is a challenge. So…why are you trying to get my dog to challenge you? Add in that Duke is actually looking at me and you’re trying to redirect him to you when he wants guidance and reassurance and now I’m irritated.

I get back out to the front desk, and the vet comes out and has this weird conversation with the front desk woman where he says ‘The answer to your question is yes’ and she’s a bit confused, and then realizes what he’s talking about, and says something along the lines of ‘I just wasn’t sure that was right’ and it’s all kinda odd, until she gives me the total…of $17.50. Which is a more than the $8.00 they quoted on the phone. Which I tell her. She tells me that apparently they have to charge an office visit fee now, in those words, and says that’s why she had to ask if the total was right. .

Which makes me angry, on 2 levels. One, I am not a fan of the surprise charge. That alone, even if everything had gone swimmingly, is enough to ensure that I will not return. Would it be a hassle to call every one of your scheduled customers and inform them of the new policy? Yes, absolutely. And yes, you may have lost customers-I wouldn’t have kept the appointment, $17.50 is about what it costs for round trip gas to my normal vet’s plus their manicure fee-but now you’ve lost me as a customer anyway by springing the charge on me, so it’s a wash. At least you would have done the ethical thing. Why wouldn’t you at least put up a sign, give people some warning?

Two, I think it’s possible they charged me more because my dog was difficult. That explains the lack of a sign or any notice, the odd conversation-as in, the vet put down the extra charge, under office visit, and that’s why the front desk lady was confused, and even a little unsure in telling me about it, e.g. “I guess this is what we’re doing now?” and the vet was all covert ops about it-“The answer to your question is yes” instead of “Yes, this is the new office visit charge for everyone”

Yes, my dog is not perfect, or even a tiny bit well behaved in this situation, but I really, really dislike the underlying snooty attitude about it, which was very obvious at the first vet I took Duke to, and sort of underlying at this place.. Like I should be embarrassed that Duke isn’t a model of perfect obedience.  Fuck that. I’m not a model of perfect obedience either.

The whole episode left me irritated, but thankful that at least I have a decent vet.




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Why I Love Going Home…



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Fall, and my immeasurable love of pumpkins

I’m so happy! I ran across this poem:

Don’t Hesitate
Mary Oliver
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Perfect.  I’m finding a lot of joy in the turning of the season.  Yesterday I actually started decorating the house for fall, which hasn’t happened in years. I’m going thrifting again this week, so hopefully I’ll find some cool decorations.  My goal is to fully enjoy the entire holiday season, from now through the holidays, so I decided to make a list (of course) of fun things to do each month.  Not to run about madly, doing things just to cross them off, but to refer to when I need a little inspiration. Here’s October’s:
  1. Go to the pumpkin patch! We have a huge one in our area with tons of fun stuff to do, and I’m super excited to go. Specific things: buy pumpkins for carving and decorating, get some of the amazing handmade fudge, and see if I can find a jack o’lantern mug in the souvenir shop.
  2. Make something with caramel and apples. I saw a recipe for caramel apple cheesecake pop up in my Google reader, and that’s a leading contender. And fudge. This year I will master fudge.
  3. Make chicken noodle soup-a lot. And try some new soup recipes.  I adore soup, I could eat it and grilled cheese every day, but I’m lucky if I make it once.
  4. Actually plan something for Halloween. Even if it’s just a horror movie marathon with Steve. Specific things: see if I can thrift a costume.
  5. Make a signature fall coffee drink.  I don’t like pumpkin flavors, or even strong coffee, but I like the idea of the pumpkin spice latte, if that makes sense. I’m sure I can figure out something, probably involving chocolate and caramel.
  6. Take lots of pictures! This will be on every month’s list 🙂

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It’s Like Living On the Hellmouth

Only without any vampires, bumbling British librarians, or Slayer and wisecracking sidekicks.  In short: lame.  I’m referring to the fact the the entire town has lost power…AGAIN. *big sigh* Yes, this is a fairly common occurrence.

In other news, the new job is going swimmingly.  I adore working there.  How could I not, when at any point in time there could be a dog running through the clubhouse that I get to pet? See also:


Anyway, I’m happy.  I have oceans of free time now, so much that I haven’t even been productive, I’ve just been soaking up the contented vibes.  I come home, hang out with Steve and the pets, and do a lot of glorious nothing.

I feel my mojo coming back, though. There’s freshly made cookie dough in the fridge waiting to be baked tomorrow, I’ve dusted off my cameras, and I’ve got lists started.  Have I mentioned I love this time of year?

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Best. Rummage. Sale. EVAR!!!

So, the hospital auxiliary in a town near us has a huge annual rummage sale. Like takes up the fairgrounds (which aren’t ginormous but aren’t tiny either) huge. I go every year, but it varies a lot in quality. I usually kind find a couple cute owls and maybe some cool kitchen stuff, and once I found some blue mason jars, which are pretty rare. I’ve always envied other people’s cool finds, but today? Today was my day. Behold:

Vintage fondue pot: $1.00

Coffee thermos with flower pattern that matches my favorite thermos: $2.00

Copper bunny mold: .25 cents.

Super sturdy food mill: .25 cents.

Original 1983 Care Bears game: $2.00

Bear picture frame (bears are a thing between my husband and I): .50 cents.

New owls for my collection: $2.00

Cool tin box: .50 cents.

And the grand finale:

Two working Polaroid cameras: $5.00!

Best thrifting haul ever: priceless!

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Thank You Universe!!

I got the job!!!!


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Oh! And…

I’m also working on a cupcake scarf from Twinkie Chan’s book.


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Is This What Being Happy Is?

I think it is.  It’s a huge change, going from a job where there were no boundaries between work and personal to actually having free time.  What I have been doing:

I can cook anything, but never got the hang of baking bread. Also, I've been meaning to learn HTML for oh, the last 10 years or so


Also crossing off my list of things to learn:

Because it's about the only thing I can't do with needles/hooks and yarn/thread.

I freakin love Debbie Stoller’s Stitch and Bitch books, by the way.  And knitting is not as hard as I thought it would be.  My goals:  A Gryffindor scarf.  And a hat, so I can put a giant pompom on it.  I think they look better on knitted ones.

Spending time with Steve has also been amazing.  Like actually going out on a Friday night!

There's a place in my town that makes AMAZEBALLS bacon cheesburgers. Heaven!


After spending 3 months with Steve home pretty much 24/7, Duke is not too inclined to listen to me like he used to.  My pack position has slid down.  Good thing he’s so adorable!

Duke so badly wants to be a lap dog

This is as close as he gets.

Aaah, life is good.

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More Lists

I need an app for...

I'm not very good at...

My favorite color combinations...

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Letter To My Future Self

Dear Nikki,

Number one, I really really hope you’re working at the job I really want right now.  If you’re not, then I hope you’re working someplace equally awesome.  Don’t settle for a shitty job because you’re terrified of being broke.  I know it sucked to have your career path/5 year plan go tits up on you, but I hope you learned from it.

I hope you learned that the Universe will manifest what you ask for, even if you don’t specifically ask.  All those thoughts you had about how the commute was kinda starting to suck, and you were kinda bored, and the way customers were getting under your skin?  What you didn’t want to admit was that it was time to move on, so you kept talking yourself out of it. Listen to your instincts.

I hope you learned that you should work around your priorities. Why is it a priority if it’s not put first?  You define what’s important, not anyone else.  If you allow others to impose their priorities on you than you’re telling everyone, including yourself, that you don’t matter.

I hope you learned that you do matter.  That you deserve better.  That no matter what the situation, you always have a choice.  And you should always make the choice that is best for you.

I hope you learned that fear is limiting and serves no purpose.  Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen?  What’s your Plan Z?  Confront your fears and find courage on the other side.  You are stronger than you think.

I hope you learned not to underestimate yourself. Stop selling yourself short.  You have to value yourself before anyone else will.

I hope you learned to take better care of yourself.  Eat healthy.  Be active.  Don’t let anything stress you to the point that you stop doing those things, especially not for years.  It’s going to take a while to undo this damage.  Don’t let it happen again.

Remember this:

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

(From The Desiderata of Happiness by Max Ehrmann)

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