Saturday, December 3, 2016

Max, the Bengal

So, I haven't posted much (if any?  I don't remember.) about our newest family member, Max.
Max is an 8 month old Bengal cat.
Max is ridiculously cute.
He is fun, playful, beautiful, and SO entertaining.
Max is also kind of evil.  LOL!

Where to begin, with how Max has 'enriched' our lives (mine, most specifically)...

***************MAX'S RAP SHEET****************

Well, he likes cups.  Preferably full cups, sitting unattended.
Little Jerk (which is his other, more commonly used name) enjoys spilling things a great deal, and it's even better if you are around to see his handiwork.  He will make eye contact, and bat that glass right off the counter.  He dumped a full cup of water all over the flour and box of salt I bought for Thanksgiving dinner, necessitating a last-minute trip to the store.

Max has broken:
3 mason jars
2 drinking glasses
1 (purple) fiestaware plate
1 wine glass (and a partridge in a pear tree)
and the top tier of my glass cupcake/dessert stand.

Shortly after he came home with us, I discovered the hard way that LJ (little jerk) enjoys peeing in cramped, dark spaces.  I found out when my dirty laundry suddenly smelled like ammonia.  Yeah, he likes to pee in there... so I replaced them all with lidded hampers, and threw several items of clothing away, because, EW.

One day Ella's hamster escaped his cage.
The cat found him before I did, and now Muffin only has one eye.  Poor Muffin.  :(

Obviously I was concerned when Christmas rolled around, because, tree + evil cat... you do the math.  Well, the tree is pretty much safe, but I cannot say the same for my sock monkey ornament.  Max has managed to steal my sock monkey twice, now.  The first time I got him back, put him higher on the tree, and I thought that was the end of it.

NOPE.

A week later, I'm tucking Ella into bed, and I spot my sock monkey ornament in her closet, tucked among the rest of her stuffed animals.

So I'm all "Ella, what is sock monkey doing here?"
She is genuinely mystified, like IDK, I didn't put it there.  Then the lightbulb goes off, and she yells "MAX!  MAX IS TRYING TO FRAME ME!"

Yep.  He took it and dragged it into her room in the night.  (Hers is the only bedroom he has access to at night.)  LJ tried to make sock monkey 'blend in' with the other stuffed animals.

Max also loves toilets.
LOVES.
You have to make sure to close the lid before you flush, or he will try to play with your TP.  GROSS.

I will end with something he routinely does that makes me very happy:
Max is a great hunter.  Unfortunately, he's housebound, and a little frustrated with his lack of prey. This is Texas, however, and we live in a rental.  A rental with a bit of a bug problem.  And damn, everything is definitely bigger in Texas!

Every night my little jerk kills cockroaches the size of my nose, and does a damned good job of it.  He makes me proud.  Damn it, all the wet counters/floors/food, and broken dishes are worth it!

NOTE TO ANYONE READING THIS:
Bengal cats are seriously like having an incredibly agile toddler in your house.  Everything you love will be in jeopardy.  Plan accordingly.  LOL!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

DAR Days

So, I'm 'official' now.

I got my NSDAR number, and yesterday I attended my first 'real' meeting, and induction.

Yes, folks, I'm now a proud member of the DAR, Lohmann's Ford Chapter.  :D

I'm proud to be a part of this organization for many reasons, but I have to admit that a big reason is that I finally feel... legitimate.  If you know me, you know something of my convoluted origins, and what a mess my father made of things.  To know that I was able to unravel his mess, and amass enough proof to satisfy the DAR's standards, feels really good.

I feel like less of a freak, and more like an ordinary person, with an ordinary family.

It's nice to be a part of something bigger than myself - especially an organization that prides itself on historical preservation and genealogy, two things I have grown to love and care passionately about. And thanks to one of my patriot ancestors, David Parker (who provided support and supplies to the revolution), I am able to do that!

I'm just feeling very pleased, and wanted to put that out there.  :)

I can't wait to get started/get more involved!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Nutritionist (aka: How a Pre-Teen Can Suck the Life Out of You)



I visited the nutritionist with my pre-teen today.
Lord have mercy, help me Jeebus.

The nutritionist.

I honestly thought that was just a thing that new-agey, hippy-type people did.  You know, the same people that swear by essential oils, chi, feng shui, and vegan diets... not hating if you do any of those things, they've just never interested me.

But now...
Now, I have a vegetarian daughter, and another daughter seeing a nutritionist.  I hereby eat my words/thoughts, in a big way.  I am far more progressive than I ever thought I'd be.  (Maybe it's Austin?  It IS the liberal hotbed of TX... but I digress.)

BUT... my daughter did not WANT to see the nutritionist, as was evidenced by her behavior during our appointment.

Think of every sarcastic phrase, every indifferent teen stereotype, and every disinterested pose you have ever seen/heard... then imagine a very tall, very thin pre-teen employing them in a very haughty nature toward a well-meaning, young, enthusiastic nutritionist.

Yeah.  That.  It was FUN.  /Sarcasm
(I have no idea where she gets it from)

Anyway, yeah... kiddo is 74 lbs, and over 5 feet tall.  Deja vu.  I weighed 66 lbs in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.  My doctor told my mom "Quit worrying.  She'll eat when she's hungry, and her body will catch up."  I didn't break 100 lbs until my senior year of High School.  I was a size 2 until I was 20....

But, at any rate, I think my body has finally caught up and then some... but that's a topic for another day.

Methinks it might be genetic.

But hey...
The doctors are worried, and we have the money, so sure... nutritionist.

I'm pretty sure my kid scarred her a little.
She seemed so enthusiastic, and so earnest... but my ASD kid who doesn't make eye contact, but is heavy on the sardonic comments and defiant questioning seemed to throw her.  *sigh*  Lets just say it was a LONG meeting.

I felt so badly about it that I ended up going to the first available food shop and buying things she recommended, to get this show on the road.

The only problem?
It was Whole Foods.  You see, I felt really bad.
Now I'm broke and will be subsisting on ice cubes and white bread.
But hey - double win.  The kid gets all the things she needs to GAIN weight, and I LOSE weight.  Ice cubes will do that to a person.  They don't call it "Whole Paycheck" for nothing!

Anyway, IDK.
I'm not sure that Greek yogurt and olive oil can effectively combat genetics.  We'll see....





Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sew Happy!

Just sharing my most recent work in the quilting world.  :)
I've been dabbling in fabric pet portraits, and I've been finally cutting up my vintage sheet/textile collection to make quilts.  It was scary to cut them up, I've gotta be honest!

First up, my fabric pet portraits:




Next up, my vintage sheet/textile collection quilts:





I'm actually really pleased with my progress lately.  My technical skills are improving, and I'm feeling much more confident in my abilities.  I'm miles away from where I started, and about ready to start selling a bit.  :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happiness

What is happiness?
I really think that's something that everyone thinks they already know, am I right?

I mean, what is the initial reaction when you think about what happiness is?

I think, initially, a lot of people think very, very macro about happiness... and that alone keeps us very, very discontent.

When I was young, I thought of happiness as a very macro idea - very large, the ultimate THING in life.  I placed way too much importance on that ideal of what it would take to be HAPPY - it almost consumed me, reaching for that brass ring.

I was wrong.
I run into young people every day who have it wrong.
Why are we holding our lives hostage to some mythical ideal of 'happiness'?
Why do we feel frustrated and miserable because we haven't achieved it?

We are looking at it wrong.
Happiness isn't a goal.

Happiness is:

A lick and a cuddle from a puppy.
A kiss goodnight from your kid.
The smell of a storm coming.
A really great ice cream sundae.
A day so oppressively hot that when you step outside, the pavement shimmers, and the smell of honeysuckle permeates the air.
The roar of the ocean.
Bare feet on grass.
The sun warming your face.
A cold bottle of water after mowing the grass.
A great song on the car radio, and the wind blowing in your face.
A completed job.
A sincere smile from a stranger.
Just making it before the light turns red.
Slipping into a hot tub when the air turns chilly.
Liking what you see in the mirror, at least some of the time.
Turning to the first page of a new book.
Truly not giving a damn what other people think of you.
Being brave.
The happy bustle in the airport.
Kids running through a sprinkler.
That tingle in your gut when you throw your head back on a swing.
A fire in the fire pit on a fall night.
The smell of lavender.
Cool sheets on a hot night.

It's not a goal.  It's a thousand little things that, if you stop to enjoy them, are beautiful on their own. When I say I want my kids to be happy, I mean that I want them to notice life... I want them to appreciate the many, many gifts of happiness in an ordinary day.  I don't want them to think as I did... to constantly chase this elusive 'thing', this ideal, that just doesn't exist.

Happiness is everywhere.  You don't earn it, you don't achieve it, and you can't anchor it and make it stay forever... catch it in snatches, because that's how it comes.

It's always around.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Break, Graduation, and Vacation - Lets Do This!

Tuesday.

Tuesday, the 7th.  I can do this... I can hang in there until Tuesday the 7th, when we get the heck out of here, and head to NC for my niece's graduation.

Did you catch that?  MY NIECE'S freaking GRADUATION.  Grace is 18, and graduating from Highland Tech on the 10th.  My baby niece who walked down the aisle at my wedding (at three years old) with her daddy as her 'flower girl helper'.  My baby niece who brought her stuffed monkey 'Brothie' everywhere for ages.  My niece who, when she was a baby in 1998, brought some of the only joy to my life during what was one of the hardest years I've ever known.

So yes.  That baby is graduating High School, and I am floored that the years have flown by so quickly.  In the blink of an eye, that baby is grown.  I am so pleased (and weepy) to be heading back to my hometown to celebrate with her.

Plus, I'm ready for a break; a suspension of normal life and everyday jobs and expectations.

Today is a good start - it's the first day of Summer Break, and I can already feel the stress kind of melting away.  Not worrying about sickness, school drop-offs and pick-ups, homework, grades, and the other issues that come along with school is a relief.  So far.  Ask me in a few weeks, and I'll probably be willing to sell my soul to move the back-to-school date up a month.  LOL!

But for now, I am peaceful.  I enjoy summer so much, and I'm really looking forward to a lot of lazy days of sun, games, movies, and sleeping in.  :D

Summer, bring it!  Let me have some of that brutal Texas sunshine I've heard so much about - I'm ready for you, I can handle it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law has been in full effect around here lately, y'all.

In the span of 14 days I have had:

1 kid with an Upper Respiratory Infection (that was home sick for an entire week, starting on my birthday.  As a result, my birthday dinner was not at the nice restaurant as planned, but Domino's Pizza.)
1 kid with a cold (home for 2 days).
1 case of Pink Eye (same kid that had the cold).
2 kids with head lice (discovered the same morning that we were due to have an out-of-town house guest arrive).
1 car decide not to start, as I'm walking out the door to take kids to school (necessitating the hubs coming home from work to fix it).
The left turn signal lamp on my car go out.
My oil change light come on.
Anna's pet lizard die on me.
My phone screen crack into 2,000 pieces.
My kids' yearbook orders mysteriously go missing, even though we paid months ago.
An entire two weeks of storming and/or raining 6 days out of 7.
The hot tub that we thought was finally fixed and ready, show us the next day that we celebrated too soon.  :(

Can I get a do-over?  Lord have mercy!

Six more school days, then we can hopefully slow things down a bit.  Slow sounds like a beautiful thing, right about now.

But for now, I've got to put some good out there... maybe that will convince karma to swing the other way, a little bit.  LOL!

Good:

Summer is coming.
There are only 6 more days of school.
I have coffee.
The house is quiet.
The lake is pretty.
The kids are getting along in school pretty well right now.  No major complaints.
I made a friend.  :)
It's not raining, or storming.
My kid has finally started remembering to charge her phone, and take it to school (major peace of mind for me, knowing she can text me if something happens).
I started playing World of Warcraft again, and I'm having a really good time with that.  :)

Right now, I'm just mostly tired.  Very tired.
Murphy, dude, run along and play.  Go bother someone else, I'm too tired for your crap right now... there's only so much Starbucks can do for a person.





Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Better Choices Are Overrated

So, I decided the other day that I needed to get myself in check, 'cause that pesky scale insists upon telling me what I DON'T want to hear.

I already know I hate dieting.  HATE.
It doesn't make me feel powerful or in control to limit my food intake - it makes me feel stabby. Weird, given what a control freak I am - you'd think I'd excel at dieting, but you'd be wrong.

Given these undeniable facts, I decided not to 'diet', just to keep a food/calorie journal, 'make better choices', and exercise regularly.

I made 'better choices' all day yesterday.  Those better choices are leading me down a path toward a very BAD choice (namely, ripping out the throat of the first person to look at me sideways).  My better choices have made me a grumpy, grumpy bitch.  Lack of Oreos is a valid criminal defense in my opinion, y'all... it does things to you.

By the way, Starbucks?  Your 'better choice' oatmeal freaking sucks.  It tastes like wet sand, and the agave syrup is a joke.  *grumble*  Yeah.  I'm on day two of better choices.

I'm only doing this to hopefully be able to stop taking my GERD medication when I drop a few.  That is my end-game.  I don't want to be skinny, I just want to not take this dementia-risk heightening drug anymore.  There are only a handful of things that really scare me, and dementia is definitely one of them.

So... *sigh*
Here I go, day two.  My wet-sand breakfast is down, lets see how much more I can take.  Innocent bystanders in/around Austin - beware.  Give me wide berth, for both my fat ass and my bad mood - one is only bad for me, the other is very bad for us both.  LOL!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Skunk City, USA

So.

We've been in Texas for about a month, and are finally sort of settling into a groove.  Both the kids have started school, and we're learning about the local customs and quirks.

Local customs and quirks?  Yep.

For instance:

Texas is the best, and the rest of the US can just go take a seat.  If you are not openly proud to be here, you will be lynched.  (6,000 extra points if you were born and raised here.)

You must be prepared for people (in their huge trucks and SUVs) to take full ownership of the road.  You, my friend, are simply borrowing it - it belongs to them, and don't you forget it!

People will be nice to you, because that's what Southerners do, but they are really pretty tired of new people.  New people = anyone who wasn't born here, basically.  I took my daughter to Urgent Care our first week here, and the doctor informed me that I wasn't welcome.  He said he's been here 20 years, and people only recently stopped seeing him as an outsider.  Oy vey.

The houseflies are the same size as horseflies, so don't be alarmed.  (Like my daughter, who started crying hysterically when she saw one for the first time).

Skunk.  Here in Austin (just outside of Lakeway) skunk odor is a way of life, and you best learn to like it.  They. Are. Everywhere.  They are dead on the road as often as squirrels were in my hometown, and those buggers are PUNGENT.  They say the senses of smell and taste are pretty much the same, and I never really bought it
, until now.  I now know what skunk TASTES like.  (It's like the bitter taste of lemon rind, combined with the 'penny' taste of blood.  You're welcome.)

Racoons.  Yeah, more critters.  They love garbage, BTW.  I have been an adult-type human for over 20 years now, and have never once had a raccoon in my garbage - until I moved to Texas.  That lid better close tightly, or you are gonna be picking up the remnants of a raccoon smorgasbord for months, because those little shits spread your trash every-freaking-where.  Including amongst the cacti that grow like weeds out here.  It's so much fun to pick paper plates and Ziploc bags out of razor sharp beds of cactus.  /sarcasm

Deer.  Again, with the critters.
These, however, have been purely decorative at this point.  We live across the street from a huge lake, and apparently they really like that awesome, fresh water source.  They are great... until they stand in the middle of the road and look at you like "What?  I'm chillin' here."  They are pretty cool, I have to admit.  I was driving little one to school one morning, and one was standing there.  Of course Ollie (my dog) was hanging out the window, and she and the deer just froze, staring at each other.  I swear, the look on the deer's face read "You are the smallest, ugliest deer I've ever seen.  Begone with you!"

Dogs.  Critters, more critters!
There are a good many dogs in my neighborhood, and an awful lot of them run amok off-leash.  This is not something I'm used to at. all.  Luckily, they are all (so far) very nice, or otherwise harmless little ones.  There's Napoleon, Diamond, Amber, Bug, and unknown Siberian Husky that I've met so far, off-leash.  Everyone in my old neighborhood was so vigilant about the leash thing, that this has come as a bit of a surprise to me!  Problem is, now my dog wants to be free-range.
Um, no.

Moss grows on all the trees.  But not the Spanish Moss I'm used to, from Savannah.  This is different... it's something called Ball Moss, and it gets everywhere.  It looks like tiny balls of aloe, or some other succulent, clinging to the trees.  BUT... apparently it's harmful, and you're supposed to remove it.  It's SO CUTE, though.  *sniff*

Beer.  They are damned proud of their beer.  Shiner Bock, need I say more?

People honk their horns at you, even if you've done nothing wrong.  Like, say, you have to stop at a red light, but the person behind you is going 85 in a 60 and has to stop suddenly - that's your fault, and you better just deal, buttercup.  You are getting honked at with the same intensity as if you had sat at a green light until it changed, and then attempted to run over a puppy.  In my first three weeks, I was in an accident, needless to say.  (I'm not hurt, and neither was anyone else.  :))

OK, so maybe that was a lot of complaining.  So let me tell you about some of the awesomeness.

Awesomeness #1 - 84 degrees in March.  84 DEGREES.  Pure awesomeness.  I love the heat, and I have been soaking up every single nice day like my life depends on it.

Awesomeness #2 - My view.  I can see the massive lake from my front porch, and I can't stop staring.  It is so peaceful, and beautiful that I am out there on the deck as much as possible - one of my first purchases was two chairs for the deck.  Forget the house, gimme my deck chairs!

Awesomeness #3 - The lake, again.  In the homeowners park, you can sit at a picnic table right at the water's edge.  The wind blows your hair, and you can hear the water rushing, and lapping, and it almost feels like you are at the beach.  It is flat-out gorgeous.

Awesomeness #4 - So many restaurants here are really really kid-friendly, and even have playgrounds for the kids to run amok in while waiting for the food.  (And I'm not talking McDs... I'm talking nice, sit-down restaurants, ones with wine!)  Best idea ever!

Awesomeness #5 - Texas Mountain Laurel.  It is everywhere, and I adore it.  It's so beautiful.

Awesomeness #6 - The Kid's Wing.  The house we are renting here has an entire 'kids wing' that can be shut off from the rest of the house.  How cool is that?

Awesomeness #7 - Skylights.  Our house is full of skylights, and huge windows.  The amazing view is never far away.  :)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Everything's Bigger In Texas - Including The Rats

Yep, you read that right, but I'll get to the rats in a bit.

So.  Texas.

My husband was offered a new job, and none of us were opposed to the idea, so he took it, and we started planning our big move to The Lonestar State.  Everything went pretty smoothly, and I was kind of thinking "This isn't so hard, psssht."  Famous last words, people.  Famous last words.

We were due to leave the morning of Friday, January 22.  BUT, as luck would have it, the first snow/ice debacle of the year in good old NC was due to begin in the wee hours of the morning, so we adjusted our plans and decided we'd leave at 10pm on Thursday night, and drive into Atlanta to get ahead of the storm.  Key word being PLANNED.  It took us about 45 minutes longer than we anticipated to take care of last minute stuff, and load the van.  We spent about 20 of those minutes imploring our oldest to PLEASE get out of the van, because we weren't ready to go... and she spent those 20 minutes defying us, and running in and out of the van, keeping the doors open, turning on lights, etc.

At about  12 freaking TWENTY we are finally ready to hit the road.  We all pile into the van, and NOTHING.  Nothing.  Because of a certain someone, the battery was deader than dead.  Fried.  But my husband is a freaking genius, and after about 1.5 hours of coaxing, cleaning, coddling, and charging, he got the damned thing to crank, and we made it as far as Greenville before having to stop and sleep a little.  Of course the battery was totally dead in the morning, so AAA to the rescue!  We headed out to New Orleans in just a few hours.

New Orleans was freaking freezing when we were there, but awesome nonetheless. So much history and awesomeness there... the cemetery was of particular interest for the genealogy buff.  The tombs are above ground, and amazing!  Upon your death you get to stay intact for a year and a day, and then your remains (whatever is left after the effects of granite combined with a sweltering summer are done with you) are gathered up and put into a common area in the tomb to make room for the next family member.  The ultimate in recycling!  Some tombs hold hundreds, or even thousands of people!  NOLA is apparently very very haunted, but we saw nothing... our hotel was 'new' and not haunted.  Boo!  :(  I don't think I need to mention that the food and the booze were awesome - and I fully intend to hit Bourbon Street sometime, sans kiddos.

After our little mini-vacation in NOLA, we got on with the business at hand - the last of our long-ass trip into Texas.  (Here's where the rats come in, BTW.)  It was such a relief to finally arrive, and see our rental house in person (we rented it basically sight-unseen - only a few pictures).  Everything was great until we went into the kids' wing.  It STUNK.  Long story short, it smelled like pee, and I found poop in a closet.  Apparently RAT POOP, from the 8-10" long (nose to butt, not including tail) rats that had taken up residence in the attic while the house was unoccupied.  The landlord is fixing it, but we still have no access to the kids' wing, and there are boxes of their stuff everywhere that we can do nothing with, because we can't freaking use 1/3rd of the house.  UGH.

Did I mention boxes of stuff?  Everywhere?
Yep.  The kitchen is half the size of our old one, and there is no usable attic space in this house.  Workable, though.

What's not workable is that 80% of our furniture is either destroyed completely, or aesthetically ruined, thanks to the movers who packed our truck in NC.  They sucked, did it wrong, and nearly everything was ruined in transit.  Needless to say, IKEA is now our BFF, while we attempt replace enough to make things livable.  We are so sick of putting stuff together, and lugging heavy boxes.  Just me and my husband, because we know nobody here to help.  They are delivering a couch tomorrow, thank the LORD, because sitting on the floor for a week is long enough!

So, yeah.  This is hard.

The bright sides:
Our view is utterly spectacular.  There's a lake in our front yard.
There are six foot long wind chimes that sound like church bells in the beautiful, mature tree in the front yard.
The house is charming (despite the unwelcome guests).
My kids have already made several friends in our new neighborhood.
The weather is awesome.  It was in the 70's today, and will be in the 80's tomorrow - in JANUARY.
The restaurants are great.
The grocery stores are HUGE, and have everything you can think of.
There's an amazing water feature in our yard.
There's a creek in the back that our awesome neighbors have invited our kids to play in, anytime.

We are here, though, and working hard to get settled in Austin.  I'm hoping that by this time next year I might have everything unpacked.  :D



Thursday, January 7, 2016

TSA, You're Killin' Me, Smalls

Over Christmas break, we took the kids to Florida to play with a giant mouse and spend copious amounts of our money.  (Disney World, I'm lookin' at you.)  So obviously we got to spend some time in the company of the local TSA, at the butt-crack of dawn, no less.

Let me start by saying that I've got no beef with the TSA, or airport security on any level.  It's all good, and I don't even mind showing off my holey socks to my fellow travelers, or getting randomly felt up.  Meh, worse things have happened, and hey - how else will they get to find out that I have back fat, or that my new Papermoon flannel is super-soft?  It's a win-win, am I right?

But I digress.
This isn't about me.
This is about another dude's unfortunate encounter with the TSA that I had the good fortune to witness.  (No, it wasn't a cavity search, but almost as good, I swear.)

So.  We're heading through security, and my eleven year-old's backpack is flagged for manual search. Ho hum... unexpectedly lengthy stay in the company of the TSA, but whatev.  I'm chill.  We get behind the man already waiting, and for lack of anything better to do, I intently watch the hand search of his bag.  And I see the TSA stealthily take something from his bag and whip it aside into a bin.  Curious...

The agent says something in a low tone to the man that I don't hear.  Frustrating!  I'm nosy, I admit it.  But then... I see her remove a pair of lacy ladies' panties from the bag and say "Sir, did you know these were here?  Are these yours?!"  He very nonchalantly says "No, not mine" as if lacy underwear appearing in his baggage out of thin air is just a thing that happens all the time.

The TSA throws the panties away, and I am dying trying to keep from laughing.
The man walks away, and the agent calls two more women over there, and they pick up the mystery bin from before, and I can see them measuring what was inside and trying very hard (and failing) to control their laughter.

Three guesses what was inside the bin.  I bet you'll only need one, and that it is the same guess as mine!  LOL!  ( I never found out for sure, though.)

Oh, and my daughter's bag was flagged because she was smuggling a bottle of water, FYI.   Thank you, Anna!  (But not so much for the smuggled Ginger Ale on the way back... seriously kid, again?!)

Monday, January 4, 2016

I'm Disowning My Dog



See that, up there?  That is a picture of my spoiled rotten Jack Russell, Olive.  Don't let the picture fool you - she can be very active, and very attuned to the goings-on around her.   Olive is a very dedicated guard dog, committed to keeping me safe from the terrors of mundane life.

UPS man?  She's on it, barking and pacing back and forth... how DARE he have the audacity to come on my porch and leave a package?  A PACKAGE, I tell you!  He must be stopped, and Olive is the dog for the job.

Squirrel?  Oh, that little rodent POS is going DOWN.  Crazed barking commences until someone lets the guard dog outside to take care of business.  I mean, come on... we all know squirrels are an evil menace to be dealt with accordingly.

Neighbor walking their dog on the street?  THIS WILL NOT DO.  There is another dog in the line of vision... ANOTHER DOG, OMG.

The doorbell.  The doorbell, amirite?  The doorbell is Satan's handmaiden, announcing the arrival of the dreaded UPS MAN.  

I used to feel kind of sorry for Olive, in a weird sort of way.  She's a hunting/herding/chasing breed, and she's stuck in suburbia, poor baby.  I thought that maybe she fixated on squirrels, the UPS man, and the doorbell for lack of anything better to focus her energies on.

I was wrong.
WRONG.

My dog is not very bright, bless her heart.

On New Year's Day, our neighbor went crazy.
The guy shot his wife (she survived by jumping in her car and driving away) and murdered our other neighbor.  The crazy dude lived directly across from us.  He was CLEARLY visible from the windows flanking our front door (the same ones that afford a view of the evil UPS man) stalking around his front lawn with a freaking rifle.

Surely my dog noticed, right?  Nope.

Surely, since the doorbell sets her off like a total nutball, the 10+ gunshots must have had some effect on her?  Nope.

Well, since she hates squirrels in her backyard, she must have went crazy when the cops with sniper rifles set up shop in our backyard, right?  NOPE.  NOT A PEEP.

Olive didn't even look up.  Thanks for nothing, ya furry jerk.  Nice to know you've got my back if the UPS man tries to do something evil like BRING ME WINE.

OLIVE IS DISOWNED, AND HER 'DOG CARD' REVOKED.