We have this neighbor named Steve.

Well, Steve might not actually BE his name, but that’s what we call him.

He also technically might be a “her” rather than a “him”. It’s hard to tell, honestly…

…because Steve is a chipmunk.

The Steve Saga started back last summer. Our actual human neighbor, Gary, has his mailbox affixed to this antique standing scale. One day last summer I was walking Junior, Professional Harsher of Mellows, down our road. As we rounded the corner by Gary’s mailbox, a chipmunk came barreling out of the underbrush growing along the edge of the lawn and dove straight under the platform part of the scale that the mailbox is attached to.

Ever since then, Junior has been OBSESSED with the platform. He let up over the winter while the chipmunk was hibernating, but this spring when things started thawing out, Junie was right back at it – sniffing, digging and making tiny angry Wookie noises every time he got near the platform.

Mark decided the chipmunk needed a name a few weeks back, so he started referring to him as Steve.

It wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the fact that I have this terrible habit of talking to the dog while I walk him. Not just general guidance like “good boy” and “no, don’t eat poop”, but often fairly extensive one-sided conversations.

I mean, Junie never actually answers me BACK, so that’s a step in the right direction, but it’s still probably somewhat disconcerting for the neighbors to look out their windows at 7am and see me wandering around mumbling in a sing-songy voice about how Steve’s not home and can’t take your call right now but if you leave your name and a brief message…



“Do veef nuff mek mah mouf wook faf?” – Steve the chipmunk



professional harsher of mellows

My dog can harsh anyone’s mellow.

Seriously. The Dalai fucking Lama could roll up in here, my dog would lose his shit because, OMG stranger danger, and the Dalai Lama would be like, “Shit, dog…you’re SHRILL”. And after five whole minutes of the drama that is Junior’s carrying the fuck on, the Dalai Lama would be like, “I can just sit with a lot of annoying things and be at peace with them but your dog is way too much. I gotta go.”

Or …who’s more laid back than the Dalai Lama?


Matthew fucking McConaughey! My dog could harsh stoned-ass Mr. “Alright Alright Alriiiiight” Matthew McConaughey’s mellow, I swear to you.


Nice, uhh…belt buckle.

Sidenote: Mr. McConaughey, if you’re reading this and you want to test the theory, please do feel free to stop by. I make excellent brownies and I’m definitely a fan. A big…BIG fan.


Anyway, WTF was I talking about before I got distracted by Matthew McConaughey?

Oh, right. My dog being a shit.

So, I’m laying on my back starfish-style in the middle of the living room floor this evening (I TOLD you things get weird when my husband isn’t home), attempting to meditate. It didn’t actually start out as attempted meditation, by the way.  It started out as attempted yoga to try and coax the GIANT KNOT OF EVIL out of my back. Which, that sort of worked but sort of didn’t because the original giant knot of evil kind of eased off but then two other places started to seize up on me while I was laying on the floor. Which was why I was laying starfish-style on the living room floor to begin with – because basically, I couldn’t get up.

SO, while I was stuck down there, I figured I might as well close my eyes and try to meditate for a little bit. Or more to the point, “sit with the pain”, as they say. Those fucking sadists.

So, again, laying on the floor on my back, arms and legs akimbo. Eyes closed, taking nice deep breaths. Calming breaths. Quiet breaths. So quiet. So calm. Everything is smoothing out, things are coming down a few notches all by themselves. Things are OK. I’m whole, I’m at peace, I am a denizen of the motherfucking light…

…and then the shit hits the fan.


The dog was three inches from my head when he let out with this full-throat war cry of doom. Also, keep in mind that he’s a tiny dog – he weighs like 10lbs and is smaller than most house cats – so it’s not like a regular sized dog’s howl. It’s as if someone took the tiniest miniature wolf imaginable, gave it several hits of helium…and then stepped on its tail. (Side note: if you like puppies, do yourself a favor and search “tiny howl” on YouTube when you’ve got like an hour or three to spare. I assure you, you will not be disappointed. Case in point. Also, that video is not at ALL what my dog’s howl sounds like, unfortunately.)


Three. Inches. From my head. After ten whole minutes of blissful silence and falling deeper and deeper into a concentrated state of mellow (which, as I’m sure you’re aware, does not come easily to those with teh ADHD and anxiety). It was like someone dumping a bucket of ice water on a sleeping person. Much spluttering and swearing ensued.

What set him off? WHO FUCKING KNOWS. It certainly wasn’t a knock at the door or a car in the driveway or any other even remotely reasonable thing. Maybe a mouse farted three houses over. Maybe the wind blew in the scent of the Dreaded Neighbor Cats. Maybe it was the exact moment when Mercury hit the 7th house of Libra with Pluto ascendant. This is legit how capricious my dog is. There doesn’t even HAVE to be a reason for him to sound the alarm. It’s like he’ll sit there and think to himself, “You know, I haven’t scared the shit out of the humans with my sudden blood-curdling howls lately. Maybe I’ll let one rip right…NOW”, and he’s off.

So, suffice to say, my mellow was harshed quite suddenly and thoroughly.


“Not a single one of the six people that read this blog are going to believe you, Mahm. I have stolen all their souls through the Internet and turned them all against you.” -Junior T. Armitage


a bone in hand is worth two in the…WAIT…

I’ve had a big raw-hide bone sitting around in my office for like, a year and a half.


ang nyang nyang

Originally, I brought it in for my boss’s dog, Remy. Remy started coming in to the office with my boss a few days a week because the other family dog (who had been Remy’s side-kick for his whole life), had recently passed away and Remy was having some separation anxiety issues. He was a big, goofy, friendly golden retriever (is there any other kind?), and he liked to rest his chin on my lap while I was typing. I’d have entire conversations with him (like I do with my own dog), complete with “Remy voice” answering my questions to him, etc.

As an aside, if my office-mates were at all iffy on my level of crazy before (which…doubtful), I’m sure that seeing the way I carried on when the dog was in the office PRETTY MUCH cemented it for them.


So, my one beef with Remy was his amazingly foul breath. He was an old dog and had some sketchy teeth. Plus dogs like to eat gross stuff and Remy was no exception. It was summer when he was visiting us so with the combination of his long flowing coat and our suck-ass air conditioning, it made for a lot of panting. Bad-teeth-scented, “I cleaned the catbox for mom and dad right before we came to work and I don’t have thumbs so I think you know what THAT means”-tinged, eye-water-inducing panting. With his chin in my lap. Often for upwards of 10-15 minutes at a time. Usually while looking up at me in that angelic way that made it impossible for me to tell him to go away because I am a SUCKER.


“Sure, I eat poop. You’re still going to pet me, though. Come on, pet me. DOOO ITTTTT.”

Brushing Remy’s teeth was kind of out, because I wanted to actually keep all my digits intact and also it wasn’t really my place to start doing hygiene maintenance on someone else’s dog (although knowing my boss, he probably would have been all for it and may have even offered me money to do it). The next best thing I could think of was a rawhide bone. I was hoping that if I brought one in for him, he’d gnaw on it a little and scrape a couple layers of olfactory horror off his chompers before coming to rest his chin in my lap for scritch-time. I talked to Boss to make sure it was ok, then I went out and procured a nice big golden retriever sized rawhide bone.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, Remy gave nary a single winged fuck about that bone. He barely sniffed at it when I presented it to him. I left it on the floor by his snooze spot for a full week in the hopes he might get curious and give it a try.

Nope. Not one nibble. Not even another sniff.

Sighing and steeling myself for afternoons of smelling catshit-flavored death-breath from then on, I picked the bone up, set it on a shelf behind my desk and basically forgot about it unless someone came in and made a comment or joke about it.

Fast forward to today.

The guy that rents the office across the hall has a big, elderly black lab mix that he brings to work with him most days. He keeps the dog shut up in his office with him for the most part, but sometimes he doesn’t close the door tightly so the dog noses it open and goes on walk-about around the second floor. The guy is usually very quick to herd the dog back into his office but today I guess he was on the phone or something because Neighbor Dog was standing at the top of the stairs wagging his tail happily as I made the steep and arduous trek back up to my aerie (seriously, these stairs are fucking brutal. It’s like Frodo’s climb up Mt. Doom every morning when I get to work).

I stopped at the top and gave Neighbor Dog some well-deserved skritches, then continued on to my office, dog following closely behind. Guy Across The Hall popped his head into my office shortly there-after and apologized for the dog bothering us. We said no, of course it wasn’t a bother, we liked the company, etc. Then all of a sudden I remembered the rejected rawhide bone. I held it up (the dog had his back turned) and raised my eyebrows questioningly. Guy smiled and nodded, saying, “sure!”, so I stepped around the partition and presented the bone to Neighbor Dog.
Neighbor Dog sniffed it once and looked at me, slightly puzzled. I offered it again, saying “it’s ok, you can haz”.
He sniffed it again cautiously, then gave a big wag of tail, chomped onto the bone and bolted across the hall with it, much to my joy (and not a small amount of relief, honestly. I didn’t know if I could take another bone rejection).

So, moral of the story I guess, is to always keep a rawhide bone at your desk.

And that even if one shit-breath dog doesn’t want your bone, another one will eventually come along who does.

And most importantly, that dogs are awesome. Even the shit-breath ones.

Also, I ramble. But you know that by now.

Sundays with Junior

There are certain things I do on Sundays.

I grocery shop on Sundays, because that’s when the week’s flyer goes into effect.  I like to go early before the godly post-church crowds clog up the aisles.  It’s less about the fact that they all just came from church and more about the fact that I don’t like seething masses of humanity.

Sundays are laundry day, too.  I’m capable of doing laundry other days of the week but frankly, why wash today what you can put off until Sunday?  I have a carefully curated supply of clean clothes (all laid out on the spare room bed, in fact!), that will last me the whole work week without needing to do laundry so long as nothing, uhhh, untoward happens.  Like random pants-shitting.  Which I’m NOT in the habit of doing currently, I feel it necessary to point out.

Sunday also involves trying to appease our tiny white overlord, Junior.  As much as I would love for him to be, Junior is not work-dog material.  The last time I tried to take him to work with me on a weekday when the office was fully staffed, he peed on my office-mate’s chair leg, barked incessantly any time someone came up or down the stairs adjacent to my office, and growled at my boss.  So, Junior stays home instead of coming to work with me.  It probably breaks my heart more than it breaks his, but none the less, Sunday is the day I usually try to make it up to him ahead of having to leave him home alone for 40 more hours in the coming week.

As far as appeasement goes, Junior is generally a pretty simple overlord to work for:

He wants walkies, during which he will exert his authority over the world at large by peeing on any upright structures he encounters and barking at the neighbor cats.

He wants bites of whatever anyone eats, especially if it’s almond butter.

He wants a warm lap to curl up in if he so chooses, but he will be neither forced nor cajoled into cuddling, no sir!

He wants a car ride of appropriate length (none of that “once round the driveway” nonsense he used to settle for as a puppy), and there will be bonus virgins for you in Heaven if the ride happens to be punctuated by a visit to Nana’s house.

And, above all, he wants to play.  Acceptable games include “Chase Junior Around The Apartment”, “Throw This Thing That Junior Has Brought You”, and “Try To Get This Thing From Junior So You Can Throw It But End Up Mostly Just Chasing Him Around The Apartment”.

"Quit lollygagging and throw that thing, Mahm!"

“Quit lollygagging and throw that thing, Mahm!”

"Look, if you're not going to throw it, then at least put your hand in it and wiggle it around enticingly."  (That's what she said)

“Look, if you’re not going to throw it, then at least put your hand in it and wiggle it around enticingly.” (That’s what she said)



morning, schmorning

Back to the NaBloPoMo prompts today! This one is kind of lame, but hey…you get what you pay for!

Prompt for Monday, November 9:

What is the first thing you do every single day (I mean, after you hit the snooze button)? When did that step in your routine begin?

My alarm clock, usually, is our dog Junior:
"Mahm? You in there?"

“Mahm? You in there?”

He starts whining just about the time it starts getting light outside.  He doesn’t have a snooze function per se, but sometimes I can quiet him down for a few precious minutes by petting him, which I usually do while picking up my phone and squinting to see what ungodly time it is.

So I suppose technically the very first thing I do most mornings is pet the dog, which certainly isn’t a terrible way to start the day.

Dog-petting, pants-putting-on and stumbling to the bathroom aside, the first actual functional thing I do every day is either make breakfast or walk the dog.

If it’s my turn to walk the dog, that has to happen before anything else because the poor little thing has been holding it for like 12 hours and I feel horrible making him wait any longer than that.  Back before I lived with my husband I was the ONLY dog walker, so walkies always happened before breakfast no matter what.

If it’s not my turn to walk the dog, I’ll go downstairs and start breakfast.  I’ve always been a breakfast person, even when it was just cereal and milk as a kid.  I am mystified by people who can skip breakfast and still manage to function.  I think they might actually secretly be aliens, in fact.  It’s the only reasonable explanation.

Breakfast at our house is usually eggs, bacon or sausage of some description, some veggies, and tea.  Sometimes I go through phases of having steel-cut oats for breakfast (I make them savory, with cheese and black pepper and maybe an egg on top), but my husband is of the opinion that any meal that does not include meat is not actually a meal (and further, that eggs do not count as an adequate meat replacement no matter WHAT literally the rest of the world except maybe people who are allergic to eggs say), so even when I have oatmeal I end up cooking him eggs and meat anyway.

this is payback for something, I’m sure of it.

My dog wants to go out for a walk.  Normally this wouldn’t pose much of a problem, except I currently look like this:




It’s not even so much that I give a fuck what my neighbors think of how I look – it’s more that my hair isn’t dry yet and it’s really blustery out. Also, I am utter shit at putting my hair in rollers, so literally ANY application of force via air movement is going to make this delicate balance of hope and fuckery all come crashing down.

But…I can’t let the dog piss on the floor (not that he would anyway, he’s a good boy). So fucked-up hair, here I come!

motivationally chilly

My dog is doing this devastatingly adorable thing right now where, while sitting on my lap, he tucks his little nose just under the side of my arm and snoozes.  I’d like to think it’s because he adores the shit out of me, but in reality it’s probably because the poor little bastard is freezing, given I haven’t broken down and turned on the heat yet.


“I wasn’t a white dog to begin with.  This is accumulated frost on my fur.”

It’s not that we can’t afford to run the heating.  It’s more that I’m just needlessly stubborn.  And also kind of a cheapskate asshole sometimes.  But mostly it’s that I’m a little bit of a sicko and I kind of enjoy the game of mental endurance involved.  It feels like an accomplishment to get through a slightly uncomfortably chilly day without turning up the heat.  My husband doesn’t share the same strange brand of masochism.  He would in fact prefer it if we kept the house at a tropical 78 degrees so that he could lollygag around, comfortably watching football in his undies.

I, however, find the cold motivating.

As in, I need to keep moving in order to stay warm.

Speaking of which, my toes are turning blue. I think it’s time to vacuum!

easy come, easy go

This morning while I was cooking breakfast, Husband was harnessing up the dog for the morning constitutional and said something to him about being “just a poor puppy”. In my head that immediately turned into “I’m just a poor pup, nobody loves me”, which in turn lead to me singing Bohemian Rhapsody in dog-voice while Husband made the dog dance along.

That was quite possibly the sanest thing I did all morning.

It went downhill quickly after that, with stops at “surely I’ll have time to watch an episode of Jeopardy without being late for work”, and “this sweater with giant horizontal stripes doesn’t look THAT bad on me”, before reaching the near-inevitable nadir of me choosing to fully line my eyes with black eyeliner a la Jared Leto circa 2006:

30 Seconds to Mars, indeed. It almost works in a goth-lite type of way in this picture but trust me, it's much more ridiculous in real life.

30 Seconds to Mars, indeed. It almost works in a goth-lite type of way in this picture but trust me, it’s much more ridiculous in real life.

And I’ve still got bloody fucking Bohemian Rhapsody stuck in my head, four hours later.

“Scaramouche, Scaramouche, WILL YOU DO THE FANDANGO?!”

new morning habits

This is my dog, Junior:


Don’t let that sweet innocent face and exposed belly fool you. This dog is a MONSTER.

Since I’ve started trying to get into this “do yoga in the mornings” habit, Junior has developed an accompanying new habit.  It’s actually a series of habits strung together into one ridiculous performance of dog fuckery the likes of which I feel few people could truly appreciate without video documentation, but I’m going to do my best to describe it to you.

Stage One (which honestly is the same basic Stage One that we had on non-yoga mornings):

Junior starts whining at about 6am.  Husband and I take turns alternately pulling blankets / pillow over our head for ten minutes at a time while the other one pets Junior and tries to soothe him back into another half hour of dozing.  It never works.

Sometimes there’s also a Stage One, Part B where-in I try to sing the song of Junior’s people back to him in an attempt to offend him so deeply that he fucks off and lets us sleep a while longer.  Again, never works.  It does have the residual bonus of being a minor husband trolling maneuver, though.  I mean, he’s never SAID he doesn’t like it…but I can infer.

Stage Two:

Resigned to my fate of eternal sleep deprivation, I claw my way out of the tangle of sheets and feel around the bedside for my glasses like a developmentally challenged raccoon feeling for a dropped morsel of food.  Once glasses have been located and placed on my face, I pick up my phone and stumble from the bedroom to the bathroom.  I can usually get about five minutes of peace at this point before the whining starts up again, assuming I’ve had the presence of mind to actually shut the bathroom door.  If I haven’t, then there’s immediate whining and, far more disconcertingly, disappointed staring.  We’re still talking about the dog at this point, by the way.  Husband knows better than to follow me into the can first thing in the morning…or ever, really.

Stage Three:

After the whining has once again reached Emergency Alert System proportions, I abandon the bathroom and stomp downstairs.  It should be noted that Junior isn’t actually whining this way because of any deep and desperate need to go outside, by the way – he’s literally just being an attention-whoring tit.  Also, this may be your first sign that my choosing not to procreate was probably the right decision.  Anyway – Stage Three culminates in me rolling out the yoga mat on the living room floor and firing up my favorite yoga video on the laptop.

Stage Four, AKA: The Pre-Trolling Warm-Up:

The pre-trolling warm-up begins with me laying down on the yoga mat to begin the practice.  While I’m on the floor trying to like, harness my chi or find my center or whatever, Junior is busy looking out the living room windows, scanning for neighbors, neighbor cats, chipmunks, birds, swirling leaves…really anything that moves in any way.  Once he inevitably spots a target, he unleashes a tirade of the shrillest yaps imaginable.  To his credit, the yaps are usually interspersed with some pretty amazing tiny-angry-Wookie noises which I do find amusing, but generally this stage ends with me picking up the nearest dog toy and chucking it at him to try and shut him up.  There are usually grumbles coming from the husband upstairs at this point as well.

Stage Five, AKA: Full On Trolling, AKA: Shit Gets Real:

Shortly after I run out of dog toy bark deterrents to chuck at Junior, Stage Five goes into full swing.  Because, you see, my dog does nothing by half measures.  Just barking and whining while I’m trying to better myself via the ancient art of yoga is simply not enough for him.  He will at this point bound off to another part of the living room where he stockpiles all of the stinky dirty socks that my husband peels off and gives to him at the end of every work day (hey, at least it’s not underpants?), and gleefully return with one of said stinky socks in his mouth.

Now, to be fair to Junior, we DO treat socks as dog toys in this house and always have, so he comes by the sock-fetching naturally enough and I have no problem with that.  However, when he takes the sock by one end, carefully orients the other end of the sock right next to my head and then proceeds to shake the ever-loving shit out of it in a manner such that it rapidly and repeatedly fwaps me DIRECTLY IN THE FACE…I tend to take that personally.

After the sock-face-fwapping, we proceed quickly to Stage Five, Part B, which is where Junior moves from above my head to somewhere near my hip and actually launches his entire 12 pound self directly into my solar plexus, quickly and effectively undoing any deep oxygenation, chi harnessing and/or muscle relaxation I have thus far accomplished.

Conveniently, this is just about when the yoga video wants me to stand up and start doing more painful movey-aroundy stuff anyway, and it’s also pretty much when my husband has finally started to wonder what the hell is going on down in the living room. He comes downstairs at this point, leashes Junior up and takes him out while I finish my yoga routine in relative peace.

"Namaste? That roughly translates to 'abuse mom with sock', right? I mean, my accent may be a little off, but I'm pretty sure that's what it means."

“Namaste? That roughly translates to ‘abuse mom with sock’, right? I mean, my accent may be a little off, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it means.”