Thirteen Little Rennie Things

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

2016-12-30 - Walking at Wallace State Park - 0057 [flickr]

Oh, my Rennie. Given the year (decade?) we’ve had (and we’re not even a quarter of the way through yet!), you have to live forever. Or at least to the ripe old age of twenty-three. Anything else might very well kill me. No pressure or anything. :P

On that note, I know that today is kind of blah, but I promise that we’ll celebrate your birthday-slash-adoption-day-a-versary in true We Rate Dogs style next week. Your uncle Mike is coming to visit, and there will be loads of walks, belly rubs aplenty, and, dog willing, maybe even a trip to the drive-in (or two or three). We will cram so much fun into so few days that you may never want to chase a ball again. Just kidding! Knock on wood! The day that happens will be a sad one indeed.

On that note: I love you! But I have calls to make, books to sort, and maybe even a few people to yell at. We shall see how the day progresses. Just know that I’m doing it all for you. You and Mags and Finnick, you’re the reason for my being. The things I’m trying to claw my way back for. You three are my everything.

Love you, forever and always,

– Mom

2016-07-26 - AM Sun With My Girls - 0025 [flickr]

 
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Stacking the Shelves: December 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

2016-12-26 - x-mas book haul - 0006 [flickr]

2016-12-26 - x-mas book haul - 0008 [flickr]

My Christmas book haul! I got a few new comic books as well as two crafty-type books, but my favorite gift by far is the O-Ren Ishii Funko Pop from my sister! Five of my seven rescue dogs are named after fictional characters (Ralphie refused to respond to anything other than “Ralphie,” and I rather liked Peedee’s name, so we kept it). My girl Rennie is named after Lucy Liu’s character in Kill Bill, and I already have the Kaylee and Jayne pops to represent my little fireflies. Sadly, I don’t think Funko makes Mags and Finnick pops. Mags is a pretty minor character in The Hunger Games series, so that’s kind of expected, but Finnick is a fan favorite. Not that I could just buy one half of the pair, that seems w-r-o-n-g wrong.

My parents also got me – well, Mags – a blue life jacket with a fin on it. I shit you not, Mags side-eyed me when I took it out of the box; she knew what it was straight away. I can’t wait to photograph her in it this summer. I think we’ll have to make a special trip to the beach so it looks authentic, with the sand and waves. Our little pool will just look cheesy.

2016-12-30 - Treating Myself - 0003 [flickr]

There were two books in particular that I REALLY WANTED for Christmas but didn’t get: Volume 1 of Clean Room, by Gail Simone, and APB: Artists Against Police Brutality. (Which, if you’ll remember, I tried twice to buy used but ended up with unfinished ARCs each time!) As it just so happened, Amazon had a Season 9 Angel & Faith title randomly on sale, so I used that as an excuse to treat myself to all three.

2016-12-11 - Book Outlet Black Friday Haul - 0002 [flickr]

2016-12-11 - Book Outlet Black Friday Haul - 0005 [flickr]

Since I rarely buy print books anymore, I haven’t been browsing on Book Outlet in ages. But I happened to catch an ad for their Black Friday sale in my spam folder and decided to give them another look. And, hello, when did they beef up their comic book selection? I checked some items off my wishlist and discovered a few new series, too.

As it just so happens, by the time I filled my cart and started the checkout process, I’d missed the deadline for the sale by like an hour. So I pared my purchases down a bit and settled on these eleven titles. It all came out to around $60 in the end, though, so it was still a steal. And now that I know they carry more graphic novels, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the next big one! (Spoiler alert: I went a little overboard on their Boxing Day sale. More on that next month!)

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much merries from the @furkids

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

2016 X-mas Card, Final

Since Jayne passed away in July, we’ve been down to “just” three dogs (not counting the fosters, of which we’ve thankfully had four since. They keep me busy and distracted, okay.) I know that three is still more than most households have, but we haven’t had such a critical low number since we adopted Kaylee and Jayne (dogs #4 and 5) in 2006 – so basically a decade! Not coincidentally, 2005 was also the last year I was able to squeeze all our dogs into a single photo. I gave it ye ole college try in 2006, but it was a hot mess.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures of Rennie, Mags, and Finnick, both individually and as a group, and the result is what you see above. This wasn’t my favorite shot, but it begged the best captions, so there you go.

I kind of stumbled when it came to the message on the back of the card. 2016 was a dumpster fire from beginning to end, and 2017 is looking even worse. Not much to celebrate, you know?

2016 message label

That’s David Bowie’s Rochester mug shot in the background. I chose it both because I’m from Rochester, and it matched the picture I made for the address labels, which was a montage of photos of Bowie, Prince, and Gwen Ifill, run through the charcoal filter in Photoshop so they’d be all nice and matchy. It took awhile to find a good one of Prince (his face always tends to be turned and in shadow more often than not), but I think it came out pretty neat.

2016 address label montage

For the return label, I just went with a simple pawprint and heart design.

2016 return label

These dogs are my world and they each carry a slice my heart with them. Some days this arrangement works out better than others. Sigh.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty melancholy today. The fog and thunderstorms aren’t helping, but at least there’s a Golden Girls marathon on TVLand, and plenty of cookies and chocolates in the fridge. (Yes, there will be pictures and recipes in the new year!)

After the jump are a few of my favorite pics. Look out for each other, people. Be compassionate and RESIST.

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Stacking the Shelves: August 2016

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

2016-08-16 - New Comic Books - 0002 [flickr]

2016-08-16 - New Comic Books - 0008 [flickr]

It’s been a rather shitty month (literally and figuratively, hardee har har!; no but really, the new fosters introduced a worm into the pack, and everyone’s had varying degrees of diarrhea, yay!), so I decided to treat myself to a few comic books from my wishlist. Also: A Helena Pop, because 1) it was on sale and 2) Helena is easily the best character in one of the best shows on television, so.

2016-08-19 - Kaylee Pop - 0001 [flickr]

2016-08-19 - Jayne Pop - 0002 [flickr]

…aaaand of course, once you buy one Funko Pop, you can’t stop. My next two purchases were Kaylee and Jayne, in honor of my little ladies, may they rest in peace. Kaylee looks scrappy as heck – wtf is up with that hairline!? – but there’s no way I can return her. Besides, my Kaylee was pretty funny-looking too, so I guess it evens out.

2016-08-19 - Kaylee & Jayne Pops - 0010 [flickr]

Pictured here with our 2011 FSMas card, which featured some pretty hardcore cosplay. (We leave a laminated version on the fridge year-round, because how could we not?)

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Stacking the Shelves: May 2016

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

2016-05-10 - Birthday Books (& Rennie) - 0003 [flickr]

2016-05-10 - Birthday Books (& Rennie) - 0007 [flickr]

2016-05-09 - Cookie Dough Cake - 0003 [flickr]

First things first: My birthday was earlier this month. (Yay me!) Shane made me a chocolate cake with almond buttercream frosting AND BITS OF COOKIE DOUGH STUFFED INSIDE (genius!) and I got a big stack o’ comics and vegan thin mints and a Supernatural messenger bag that I’m maybe probably most definitely too old for.

(The Orphan Black TP is still on my wishlist, in case anyone wants to send me a late gift. Just saying.)

2016-05-10 - Brain Freeze Journal - 0002 [flickr]

I requested yet another journal from Blogging for Books; I’m pretty sure I have enough to cover the next decade at this point! Even though I’m kind of over the teeny tiny sizes, I just had to have the Brain Freeze Journal. It looks so much like a Neapolitan ice cream sammie I salivate a little every time I look at it!

2016-05-23 - Long May She Wave - 0009 [flickr]

True story: I put in for a copy of Long May She Wave (also from Blogging for Books) mostly on accounta I was wondering just what the heck it was. A book of American ephemera? Tear-out postcards? A stationary set? As it turns out, it’s a cross between two and three: a faux book housing 100 individual postcards: 50 unique designs, with two of each so you can send a card/keep a card, if you’d like. Kind of neat, eh?

2016-05-03 - Places No One Knows - 0002 [flickr]

Thanks go to Natalie C. Parker for this ARC of Places No One Knows! I also won an ebook of Beware the Wild in her twitter giveaway!

2016-05-03 - Life Without Nico - 0001 [flickr]

For review through Goodreads: the children’s book Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana and Francisco Javier Olea. This is the first GR giveaway I’ve won in, like, a year! That’s okay, though; since I started with NetGalley and Edelweiss, I’ve been entering fewer drawings for physical books, so that’s probably (mostly) why.

 
For review on Edelweiss:

  •  
    For review on NetGalley:

  • American Girls by Alison Umminger
  •  

    (I’m still working through last month’s stack, so it was a slow month, galley-wise!)

    Thanks for the memories.

    Friday, March 18th, 2016

    2015-08-31 - Going to the Drive-In - 0022 [flickr]

    When I was sixteen, a work friend of my father’s got us tickets to see The Rolling Stones. He worked for Coke (or was it Pepsi?), and I think they were sponsoring the concert? Anyway, they were primo seats – my friend Heather and I were able to muscle our way up to the fifth row – and we even carpooled with him. (To Syracuse, maybe?) My parents went too, but they hung out with the other adults. It was pretty flippin’ awesome, all around. I still have the concert tee, all these years later.

    My mom was really big on thank you cards, and this was an instance where I actually agreed with her policy. Of my own accord, I wrote him a thank you note, attached it to a pricey box of chocolates (not vegan, sadly), and tasked my father with its delivery. Apparently the Coke guy was so impressed that he shared it with his class (I think he taught a class, anyway; or was it his employees, maybe? I forget!) as an example of how to behave in the business world.

    After Ralphie and Kaylee died, I thought about bringing a basket of home-made (vegan!) cookies to the staff and doctors at Blue Pearl, where we were regulars for most of May. Everyone was so kind to us, and I wanted to show them that it didn’t go unappreciated. (Especially that one vet tech who helped us carry Kaylee’s body to the car and then hugged me and let me cry on her shoulder. If you know me at all, you know just how damn out of character that is. I must have been a hot mess.) But between the grief and the heat, I never quite got around to it, and I still kind of regret it to this day.

    2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

    These anecdotes bring us to Peedee. The Summer of Peedee, to be exact, in which the I-70 and Twin drive-ins played a prominent role. Maybe this letter is a little silly or sentimental, but it’s coming from the right place. As in, straight from my heart.

    After Peedee relapsed, we started taking him to the drive-in with us…partially because we wanted to try new things with him, but also because we didn’t want to leave him home alone. (And I don’t think we did, not even once!) I was so nervous, since we’d tried it when he was younger and it was an epic failure. I thought for sure he’d make a scene and we’d be asked to leave. But he was okay and, perhaps more importantly, they were okay with him. The I-70 and Twin are really very dog-friendly; not only do they allow dogs, but they keep the ticket windows stocked with dog treats and sometimes host dog-themed events during the day.

    I’ve learned not to take this for granted, particularly in light of the drive-in that opened in St. Joseph a few years back – and explicitly disallowed dogs. (They only lasted a season or two. You do the maths.)

    Anyway, to get the point: they helped us create some really special memories with Peedee, and I’m forever indebted to them for that. And it certainly can’t hurt to tell them as much.

    2015-07-21 - Going to the Drive-In - 0061 [flickr]

    The 2016 season opens tonight, and though Peedee won’t be there with me in person, you can bet his spirit will do a little happy dance in my heart.

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    Twelve Little Rennie Things

    Friday, March 11th, 2016

    2016-02-19 - Rennie - 0003 [flickr]

    Eleven years ago today Shane and I drove up to Animal Haven (now the Great Plains SPCA) in Merriam to meet a few dogs available for adoption. There was Sir Wagsalot (actually I think his name was Wagsley, but I like my version better), a beagle mix who looked friendly enough but had just arrived and wasn’t quite ready to be adopted out yet. Then there was Rachel, a rat terrier who was so disagreeable around other small dogs that she got a whole outdoor run to herself. Her kennel had one of those igloo-type dog houses, plopped down right in the center of the yard; I remember when we pulled up, she was perched atop it like she was queen of the world. And last but not least was Rennie, our lukewarm porridge: just right. Ready to go ASAP and a little ball of friendly energy.

    Trouble was, we weren’t the only family interested, and the staff wanted to introduce her to Ralphie and Peedee before taking her home. So we raced back to Stilwell – a twenty-minute drive one way – to grab the little buggers.

    Ralphie was totes chill about the whole thing, as per usual, but Peedee. Peedee! He was soooooo nervous. Ralphie only spent one night in the pound before he was snatched up by DRNA and put right into a foster home – so maybe he didn’t remember enough to be scared by a visit to an animal shelter? But then Peedee went right into foster care too; I don’t think he really had any negative experiences to color his perceptions either. Probably it all came down to Peedee being a high-strung, overly anxious bundle of nerves. (Yet another thing he and I shared in common.)

    So anyway, Ralphie went right up to Rennie and started checking her out, while Peedee hid behind me and tried to retreat back to the car. All while Rennie chased him around with no small amount of curiosity and excitement. He was terrified of her! Little ten-pound Rennie, scrappy and sniffling with kennel cough. Even back then, they were so cute together.

    Of course, you all know how the story ends: we brought Rennie home and she and Peedee and Ralphie all got to be the best of friends. And then Kaylee came along and adopted her as a porcine daughter; and when she passed away, Mags stepped in to fill the role. She’s a little bossy and doesn’t have Kaylee’s curvaceous marshmallow shape, but I know that Rennie’s happy to have her just the same. I sure am.

    Here’s the part where I share twelve little things I love about Rennie: one for each year of her life. I’ll keep adding to this list annually, until I run out – so basically from now until the day I die. Because Rennie? She’s all kinds of awesome.

    2016-02-18 - Digging With Rennie & Jayne - 0062 [flickr]

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    This Week in Pictures: Telling Peedee’s Story to Its End

    Sunday, February 14th, 2016

    2011-06-30 - Peedee hearts HDM - 0007

    Oh, man. I’ve been putting off writing this post for so long that I’m not quite sure where to start. I guess the beginning is as good a place as any?

    Many of you know that my oldest furkid, Peedee, passed away right before Thanksgiving due to complications from cancer. He was first diagnosed in March 2014; a few weeks later, he underwent surgery to remove a tumor, along with a sizable portion of one lung. Nine months later, the cancer returned and he started chemo. It worked swimmingly until it didn’t. (That was always the case: we got bad news when we were expecting good, and good when we expected bad.) On May 20th – the two-year anniversary of Kaylee’s death, as it just so happened – the oncologist gave him 2-3 months to live. Probably closer to two. She was doubtful that he’d still be around to celebrate his 13th birthday at the end of August.

    We immediately put him on CBD oil. I would have done it a year+ sooner, if only I’d known that you can buy it online, legally (or semi-legally) in all 50 states. It’s not quite as potent as the stuff you can get in medical or recreational marijuana states, but I still think it helped. Scratch that: I’m positive it helped. He outlasted the oncologist’s best-case scenario by three months, and had a really good quality of life right up until the last few days. In any case, it was better than doing nothing; just sitting back and watching him die. This topic deserves its own series of posts, but suffice it to say: this ordeal only strengthened my stance on legalization. It’s like my main beef with Hillary Clinton at this point. But I digress.

    About the same time that Peedee was waging his 20-month battle with cancer, I discovered Cane’s Bucket List on facebook. Cane was a 6-year-old pibble whose people planned a whole “bucket list journey” for him after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Simple goals like “pictures in front of the Dallas skyline” and “paw print art projects” soon gave way to some really amazing experiences when Cane checked off item #14, “be featured on NBC DFW.” Not only did he get to sit on Santa’s lap – Cane’s caregivers threw him his own damn Christmas party. Talk about shiny!

    I wanted to do something similar for Peedee, but … by this time, he was old and a little fussy and set in his ways. Also, the phobia he’d developed of the car – thanks in no small part to all those unpleasant vet appointments – didn’t really help. So I came up with a slightly less ambitious bucket list (called the Peedee-Do List) and resolved to share pictures of our progress each week. Enter: This Week in Pictures. (I still don’t love the series title, but it’ll have to do.)

    Our last post was on November 3rd. Peedee was still doing reasonably well then, but symptoms of his illness (labored breathing, a decline in endurance) had begun popping up and just couldn’t be ignored. I knew Peedee didn’t have much time left, and I wanted to spend as much of it as I could spoiling him. So I put the bucket list blogging on hold.

    This week, I’ve spent a lot of time looking back on those old posts. It’s a bittersweet thing. We created so many happy memories together, but now they’re all I have of him. I wish I could go back and do it all over again. All the stress and worry and anticipatory grief? I’d relive it in a never-ending cycle, just to see him again.

    After Peedee died, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself. When Peedee relapsed, he became the center of our lives. Everything we did, we did with him in mind. Fostering, doctor’s appointments, traveling: we put it all on hold. Peedee went everywhere with us…and if he couldn’t come, we didn’t go. I don’t think I ever left him home alone, not once. Now that he’s gone, I’m adrift. Unmoored. Directionless.

    It took months before I was able to go through those last batches of pictures. Nearly three, apparently, before I could bring myself to write this last This Week in Pictures post. Even if it’s really just for me, I feel like I have to. Tell the story to its end, that is. (Yes, I totally lifted that title from a book in my TBR pile.)

    Peedee was a devoted friend, a loving older (and younger) brother, and a crazy smart dog with a big, mushy heart to match. If I needed comforting, I could always count on Peedee to give it, and generously. He felt timeless, as though he’d always been with me, and always would be. And he will, in a way: in pictures and memories and blog posts like this one. He lives in my heart, and in the tubes, and in the stars. In bubbles in a glass of champagne.

    On his last night, we told him stories.

    (More below the fold…)

    The Christmas Post: Better Late Than Never

    Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

    2016-01-05 - O-Ren - 0004 [flickr]

    The title pretty much says it all. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a month now, but what it lacks in timeliness, it makes up for with cute doggy pics.

    Shane and I didn’t do much for Christmas, on account of being in mourning and all, but I did spoil the dogs with a ton of gifts. Buying dog toys is a bit of a gamble, since they can be kind of random with their preferences. That’s okay, though; if my dogs don’t like a certain toy, sooner or later a foster will come along who does. (ALWAYS send the fosters home with a gift basket!)

    Rennie does have one weak spot: BALLS. She was big on tennis balls for awhile, but once she lost most of her teefies, she switched to plush balls. Her all-time favorite is the medium Skins ball made by Aspen/Booda. Made, past tense: while I was doing my holiday shopping, I discovered that they discontinued it. I was so bummed, you guys! I imagine this is how parents feel when, rushing around on x-mas eve, they spot the very last Barbie Saddle ‘N Ride Horse on the shelf, only to have some stranger beat them to it by a millisecond. I SHOULD HAVE FILLED A WAREHOUSE WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE.

    So I did what any good mom would do, and I bought every single other kind of plush ball I could find. Something like 48 of them, when all was said and done. Rather than wrap them all individually, I put them all in one box and dumped it over Rennie’s head. The video was not as dramatic as I’d hoped.

    But she loves her new balls and really that’s all I could ask for. Still, she has not abandoned her six original Booda balls, which are scrappy with saliva yet in surprisingly good shape considering how much she uses them. I guess she treats them with extra loving care. Most of her balls look like swiss cheese or fluffy amoebas after just a few days.

    Sadly, Rennie was more or less alone in unwrapping gifts this year; Peedee was the only other dog who was super-into it. Jayne helped, a little – but she was more interested in eating the paper than playing with the gifts inside.

    2015-12-25 - Christmas Doggies! - 0074 [flickr]

    Mags and Finnick want nothing to do with our human nonsense. I even tried wrapping a few treats for them – like I did for Peedee’s birthday – but even that wasn’t enough to pique their interest. They just are not accustomed to working for their meals. (Mags has trained me to feed her by hand, yo! Diva much?)

    After the jump you’ll find some more x-mas pics, mostly of Rennie since she’s the only one who really performed for us. Most of the presents were for her, so…fair’s fair I guess.

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    Vegan Christmas Cookies Infiltrate Your Gift Basket

    Thursday, January 7th, 2016

    2015-12-24 - Vegan Christmas Cookie Basket - 0005 [flickr]

    Admittedly, our Christmas cookie game was a little on the weak side this year; all I wanted to do was binge-watch The Closer and shovel potato chips down my gullet. But we always make a gift basket for the neighbors, and Shane insisted on keeping with tradition even if it meant he made everything himself. The horror, right? So we compromised and split the work.

    For a change of pace (and also because I’ve all but exhausted the holiday options in The Vegan Cookies Connoisseur), I decided to pull the recipes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This was my first time baking from it, and I was curious to see how Cookie Jar would stack up next to my well-worn, much-loved copy of Connoisseur. Which I honestly cannot recommend enough.

    As per usual, we planned to make more than we needed – that way, if one of the recipes didn’t come out quite right, we’d still have enough cookies to fill a good-sized tin. (It’s never come to this, but it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B.) Best-case, we’d end up with some leftovers to enjoy ourselves. (A-hah! Our true motivation.)

    2015-12-23 - VCIYCJ No-Bake Pecan Choc - 0005 [flickr]

    No-Bake Pecan Chocolates – A cross between a cookie and a candy bar (cluster?), these no-bake pecan chocolates are super-easy to make and keep well – so basically they’re the perfect choice for a bake-a-thon such as this, since you can make them ahead or in a pinch. They’re okay-tasting; not my favorite, but not my least favorite either. (Shane liked them more than I did.) The brown rice syrup is a little overwhelming, threatening to drown out the chocolate and pecan flavors. Also they’re very sticky, though this isn’t necessary a negative; unlike the oh-so-delicate PB Crisscrosses (see below), these bad girls should hold together well during shipping.

    2015-12-23 - VCIYCJ PB Crisscrosses - 0002 [flickr]

    Peanut Butter Crisscrosses – These were by far my favorite of the bunch; so much so that I claimed all the extras for myself. (They don’t call me Cookie Monster for no reason, okay.) The instructions say to cook these directly on a greased cookie sheet – no parchment paper allowed! – which had me sweating bullets. (Barenaked cookie sheets and I have a history, and it is not pretty; more often than not, it ends in ashes and tears and broken dreams.) But it worked! Not a burnt or broken cookie in sight. In fact, these are thin and delicate and deliciously crumbly, in stark contrast to the thick and hearty peanut butter cookies I’m used to. So good, but tricky to pack (pro tip: let them chill overnight).

    2015-12-23 - VCIYCJ Chocolate Crinkles - 0008 [flickr]

    Chocolaty Crinkle Cookies – I’m still on the fence with these. They’re easy enough to make, but go much faster if you have a partner – one person to scoop the dough and another to roll them in the two (two!) different piles of sugar (white and powdered). And while they’re actually kind of addictive, with a rich, fudgy center, I swear they have a slightly funny aftertaste, similar to the No-Bake Pecan Chocolates. Maybe it’s the dark corn syrup I’m tasting? idk, I’ve never worked with it before.

    Thankfully, dipping them in vanilla buttercream helps. The taste, if not your general mood and energy.

    Note to self: Must make these into cookie sandwiches some time.

    2015-12-24 - VCIYCJ Irish Creme Kisses - 0002 [flickr]

    Irish Creme Kisses – Alcoholic cookies ftw! I love me a good frosted cookie, and Irish Creme Kisses are no exception. These cookies are a little on the stout and fat side, so I had to thicken the icing substantially to prevent massive runoff. Other than that, the recipe went off without a hitch.

    2015-12-24 - Peppermint Mocha Brownies - 0001 [flickr]

    Peppermint Mocha Brownies – This is the only non-cookie dessert we made this year. It was kind of a last minute executive decision, so decreed because we had the time and also miscellaneous ribbon candy to spare. All but two squares got shipped off the the neighbors; enough for Shane and I to each get a taste. These are kind of interesting, kind of like a fudgy brownie with a crispy candy topping. Not the kind of dessert I’d have a lot, but perfect for this time of year. (Recipe via Fried Dandelions.)

    2015-12-24 - VCIYCJ Irish Creme Kisses - 0004 [flickr]

    Finnick and Rennie can has kisses?
    Or, How the sausage is made. (The sausage being gourmet food porn photos.)
    ——————————

    Oh, bother.

    Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

    2015-12-16 - Mags Eeyore - 0057 [flickr]

    Since losing Peedee exactly one month ago today, the mood has been pretty morose around here. “Not in the holiday spirit” is kind of an understatement: I didn’t even realize that it was Thanksgiving until ~6PM the night of; I did the bare minimum in terms of Christmas decorating (the requisite tree + a few childhood items and every dog-themed decoration I own; I may have been several weeks late, but I got it done in record time – three hours instead of the usual three days!); and the only gifts I managed to buy were for the dogs. For a hot second, I actually considered skipping the annual holiday cards entirely: TOO. MUCH. WORK.

    But my kiddos aren’t getting any younger, and I’m afraid that we don’t have that many more Christmases together. For all I know, this could even be someone’s last. (Knock on wood; I can’t handle any more bad news for at least another year or two. Preferably twenty.) And how shitty would I feel in retrospect if I decided to hell with Christmas this year? (Worst human mother in the world type shitty, more or less.)

    So I decided to power through with an impromptu Winnie the Pooh theme, and who cares if I’m a little late? (Dear friends and relatives: Your cards will be late this year. Don’t think it’s because you got bumped from my list, or that I only sent you a card after receiving yours. I am just moving like molasses on account of my depression and apathy.)

    The theme was inspired by the dread I felt as the holiday season approached: “Oh, bother.” And then I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be adorable to dress Jayne – mopey, doe-eyed, sad sack Jayne – up as Eeeyore, Eeeyore being what would really should have named her in the first place? (Jayne Cobb the girl ain’t.) And simply title it “Oh, bother.” The sentiment is apropos, but also still hella cute.

    To wit:

    X-Mas 2015 - Oh Bother (Main)

    (Click on the image to embiggen. They look better in the larger sizes, I swear!)

    But of course I couldn’t begin and end with Jayne; for the supporting cast, I bought an Eeyore hat online (stuffing the top with newspaper, so the adult size would kinda sorta fit on their tinny lil’ goggie heads) and took some pictures that I’d planned on making into “outtake” cards. But I’ll be damned if the outtake didn’t turn out better than the original!

    X-Mas 2015 - Smallest Things (Main)

    (All the quotes, by the by, are Pooh-based. I like saying that – “Pooh” – because it reminds me of Peedee. Pooh, Pooh, Poo!)

    So everyone will, in point o’ facts, be getting two cards this year, to make up for their tardiness. Win/win.

    I also made a series of “in memoriam” pseudo-cards just for me. Normally I’d say “just for funsies,” except I was bawling my eyes out the whole time I worked on them. Damn you, A. A. Milne, and your lovely, life-affirming, friendship-celebrating one-liners.

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    This Week in Pictures #24: Halloween ed.!

    Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-10-25 - Napping in the Sunroom - 0002 [flickr]

    The weather was warm-ish, so we spent the afternoon napping (them) and reading (me) in the sunroom before we left for the movies. I suspect we’re going to have to close it up soon for the winter, so best enjoy it while we still can!

    2015-10-25 - Napping in the Sunroom - 0011 [flickr]

    2015-10-25 - Napping in the Sunroom - 0010 [flickr]

    I’m really starting to build quite the collection of pictures of Mags paired with adult-type books: Mags and Bitch magazine; Mags & Other Monsters; Mags hearts Bitch Planet. Now: Mad Mags, Furry Road. I feel like maybe I should start a Mags + Books tumblr? Yay or nay? (I think you know where Mags stands on this.)

    2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0001 [flickr]

    Going to the drive-in! We saw The Last Witch Hunter (predictably cheesy) and Sicario (a little weird, but good; ever since Edge of Tomorrow, I love me some Emily Blunt).

    2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

    Peedee wants to know, what is the holdup on his french fries? (Yup, I share my fries with him. ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING HE WANTS.)

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    This Week in Pictures #23

    Sunday, October 25th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0007 [flickr]

    2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0044 [flickr]

    I’m kind of shocked that Shane keeps managing to find new trails for us to walk, but he does! Sunday we took Peedee, Rennie, Mags, and Ice Cream Star to a little patch of shoreline along Smithville Lake, right by the dam and across the way from Smith’s Fork Park. The trails wrap around the Army Corps of Engineers building (which is pretty rad looking) and then just kind of dead-end a mile or two down (I think! We never seem to reach the end, you see.) Between the gravel paths and ALL THE WATER!, it wasn’t exactly Mags’s favorite, but we made it work.

    2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0049 [flickr]

    2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0054 [flickr]

    2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0064 [flickr]

    2015-10-18 - Going to the Drive-In - 0014 [flickr]

    Aaaand Sunday = movie night, natch. Crimson Peak was paired with Trainwreck, which the drive-in brought back for a few weeks. This seems to be a trend – resurrecting months-old movies – the logic of which I don’t quite get. Like, did we really need to revisit Pixels? And it’s not like there’s a shortage of new movies. Crimson Peak plus The Green Inferno, just saying… (I’m not much for torture porn, but this one’s got me intrigued.)

    That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Trainwreck the second time around (the fox even made a repeat appearance!), and would totally pee my pants at a second run of Mad Max.

    2015-10-18 - Going to the Drive-In - 0025 [flickr]

    We were all so beat from the walk that we passed out on the drive down. Except for Shane, who had to drive the van. Bless his heart.

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    This Week in Pictures #22: Rocky Horror Picture Show ed.!

    Monday, October 19th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0035 [flickr]

    Sunday night was the Halloween-themed Retro Movie Night at the drive-in: Young Frankenstein and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW! The dogs were so excited that they insisted on dressing up for a pre-show party. “You get toilet paper, and you get toilet paper, and you get toilet paper. EVERYBODY GETS TOILET PAPER!”

    (Incidentally, the only thing that would make Rocky Horror better? Replace the German Shepherds with wiener dogs. Not only would the optics be hilarious, but what better dog to guard the Frank N. Furter Castle, hmmm?)

    2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0029 [flickr]

    2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0074 [flickr]

    2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0023 [flickr]

    2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0045 [flickr]

    2015-10-11 - Still Swimming - 0006 [flickr]

    But first: swimming! This might be the latest we’ve managed to push into fall, but I’m pretty sure I say that every year.

    2015-10-11 - Outside with the Dogs - 0074 [flickr]

    Then some light sunbathing, because six hours crammed in a van with wet dogs will surely sap away some of the MAGIC OF THE MOVIES.

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    This Week in Pictures #21

    Monday, October 12th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-10-04 - Going to the Drive-In - 0007 [flickr]

    Movie night! This time around we saw The Martian (rad despite the residual disgust re: the recent spate of Damonsplaining). It was paired with The Scorch Trials, which we’d already seen and weren’t terribly excited to sit through again, so we skipped out after the main act. I actually got to bed at a decent hour, which quite pleased the old lady in me.

    Incidentally, a) I missed the swinging penis and b) the filmmakers missed a most excellent opportunity to drop a Firefly reference: HE WANTS TO BE CALLED CAP’N TIGHTPANTS, NOT CAPTAIN BLONDE BEARD!

    2015-10-04 - Going to the Drive-In - 0025 [flickr]

    2015-10-04 - Going to the Drive-In - 0012 [flickr]

    Funny story: I was still recovering from that awful poison ivy rash, and the pilled fabric on the ratty old hoodie I chose was making my arms itch something awful, so about fifteen minutes into the drive, I decided to turn it inside-out. (Much better!) Well, Peedee kept trying to raid the front pocket for tissue – which, post-switch, was on the inside of the sweater. He went to stick his snout in the pocket only to find that it no longer existed. Mind, blown!

     
    — TUESDAY —

    2015-10-06 - Peedee Pirate - 0002 [flickr]

    I’m not sure what I was thinking with this combo,
    other than “Hey, here are two pieces Peedee’s never worn before!”

    2015-10-06 - Peedee Pirate - 0030 [flickr]

    Much better.

    2015-10-06 - Finnick - 0004 [flickr]

    Finnick just kind of wandered into our photo shoot, so.

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    This Week in Pictures #20

    Sunday, October 4th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0008 [flickr]

    Movie night! We saw The Perfect Guy and The Visit (Shane narrowly escaped the Grease/Dirty Dancing retro combo), and even got a perfect view of the blood moon out of our passenger side window!

    2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0019 [flickr]

    2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0027 [flickr]

    2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0024 [flickr]

    2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0037 [flickr]

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    Stacking the Shelves: September in Books

    Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

    2015-10-01 - Queers Destroy Horror - 0002 [flickr]

    The special Queers Destroy Horror! edition of Nightmare Magazine arrived on October 1st – right on the dot! (Rennie is uncharacteristically unimpressed.) Now I’m just waiting for Queers Destroy Fantasy, which comes out in December.

    2015-09-29 - September Pre-Orders - 0003 [flickr]

    September was a huge month for pre-orders! Amazon “only” messed up 40% of them: The Golden Compass was late (thanks USPS!), so they gave me a free month of Prime; and Amazon packaged Buffy with two other, completely unrelated orders – one of which was a two-pound bag of arrowroot powder – and of course the cover got all scuffed up in transit. Like, who wouldathunkit? One scathing email later and I got a refund on all the three items. Which is pretty rad, I won’t lie, but all I really want is for them to up their packaging game. It seems like I have a problem ever fourth or fifth order at this point. ARGH.

    Remember when they shrink-wrapped books to a sturdy cardboard backing? Those were the days…

    2015-09-24 - Sleeping Giants - 0003 [flickr]

    Soooo excited for this one! I almost requested it on NetGalley, but the crafty-book-is-crafty, interview-style format made me nervous. (I had such awful luck with Illuminae; even on the iPad, the “scanned documents” were nearly unreadable. I ended up just preordering a finished copy.) Luckily Shelf Awareness came through for me!

    (By the by, there aren’t any graphics in the ARC, so it looks like it should do okay on an e-reader.)

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    This Week in Pictures #19

    Sunday, September 27th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0002 [flickr]

    Sunday night = movie night! We saw the YA combo: The Scorch Trials and Paper Towns.

    2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0025 [flickr]

    2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0043 [flickr]

    2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

    2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0035 [flickr]

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    This Week in Pictures #18

    Sunday, September 20th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-09-13 - Lemmy - 0004 [flickr]

    (In my very best Jerry Seinfeld voice) LEMMY!

    2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0003 [flickr]

    Now that the drive-in is only open on weekends, Sunday night is our official Movie Night ™. Unless it rains, in which case Friday or Saturday night will suffice. This weekend the I-70 was doing a retro movie night ($10 per carload!), so we saw Top Gun and Jaws. Aaaand now I can’t get “Danger Zone” out of my head. On a happier note, there’s way more homoerotic stuff in that movie than I recall from my childhood viewings.

    2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0015 [flickr]

    2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0017 [flickr]

    2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0031 [flickr]

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    This Week in Pictures #17

    Sunday, September 13th, 2015

    — SUNDAY —

    2015-09-06 - Sleepy Jayne-Shy Jayne - 0010 [flickr]

    2015-09-06 - Sleepy Jayne-Shy Jayne - 0015 [flickr]

    2015-09-06 - Sleepy Jayne-Shy Jayne - 0020 [flickr]

    Jayney, being uncharacteristically cute/characteristically camera-shy.

    2015-09-06 - The Last of the B-Day Presents - 0092 [flickr]

    She was chilling in the office, minding her own biz, so when it came time for Peedee to open the rest of his birthday presents, I just couldn’t find it in me to kick her out.

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