Thursday, March 9, 2017

Technology Trials and Cooper Update

Hello all.  Since we last visited, I made the tragic mistake of updating my old phone software to the new version and my life has gone into a tailspin of technology trials and tribulations.  Why can't anything be easy?  Just why?

Don't the smarty pants technical guys making the software updates understand that there are some phone users out there that do not understand technology?  Surely, they know the vast majority of us are not phone engineers (is that even a thing?)

My troubles include....

Cannot figure out why my phone will no longer communicate with my laptop.  I can no longer download pictures or songs just by plugging in my phone to my laptop.  Apparently, my computer thinks my phone is locked.  It is not.  The little bit of research I have been able to do makes me think that I have updated my old phone software to a version that is so new and fabulous that now my laptop software is too old to talk to it.  Seriously.  Just stop.  Just leave everything the exact same, please.

Also, it is now challenging for me to attach pictures to texts.  The update has a new format and I am just not sure what in the heck I am doing.  I feel like I am attaching my whole photo library to a text and heaven one wants to see all that mess.

I used to swipe to I press the home key.  Small difference, but why?  Just why? challenges aside, let me catch you up on some family business.

  • Hubby has been traveling quite a bit for work.  He is currently in Florida - for pleasure - not business.  He is enjoying some Boston Red Sox Spring Training games with Harry.  I know they will have a great time.   
  • Speaking of Harry....he landed a summer internship with the Eau Claire Express in Eau Claire Wisconsin.  He will be working in their media relations department.  He is very excited about the opportunity and will be living and breathing baseball, May through August, which is a perfect summer in his mind.  I am certain we will visit him several times, so if anyone knows of something fun to do in Eau Claire, let me know! 
  • Chip has a 24 hour EEG in his near future to see how his epilepsy is responding to his current medication.  He will be fifteen years old in May and should be taking his driver's permit test and starting his practice driving.  Before he gets the green light to do those things, the neurologist has to test his brain activity and provide the results to the state.  The state will make a determination on whether he is safe to be a driver.  As usual, we can't see any seizure activity in his normal day to day activity, but the EEG will give us the real story.  Prayers appreciated that he has perfect results and can get on with all impending teenage activities! 
  • I have been watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  If you like to bake it is very entertaining.  It also inspired me to make some bread sticks last night.  They were great.  There was some leftover dough after the bread sticks were formed and we did not want it to go to waste.  So, Chip and I used it to throw all over the kitchen playing various games like one hand only, throw it like a disc, catch it by impaling it on a knife, we practiced kneading techniques like slamming it into the counter.  It certainly doesn't take much to entertain us.

    Cooper Update:

    He gets his own section because there is much to report.  Cooper had a visit to the vet bright and early this morning for the last of his shots.  He is four months old and 23.4 pounds. Still kind of a nightmare, but getting better.  If you could have heard the howling and whining he was doing while the tech cut his toenails, you would likely not be surprised.  She came back into the room with him and I said "It's nice that he is so laid back and relaxed, isn't it?"  Her hair was disheveled and she may have been sweating.  She got her workout in for the morning.  When the vet came in to examine him, I told her I thought he was starving, because he is ALWAYS trolling for food in the house and in the yard.  She agreed he is in a growth spurt and we could increase his food.  Hopefully, that will help him relax a little.  The vet said she thought he might originally max out at 50 pounds, but things based on his five pound pickup in two weeks that he might be north of 50 pounds and more like 70 pounds when he is an adult.  Hard to tell with pound puppies.

    The snuffle mat I made was a huge success.  He loves it and I hide kibble in it every day for him.  He vacuums up every morsel as soon as he finds it.  Here is a video of him and that awesome nose.

    Other awesome activities he does on the daily....chews this squeaky toy to death.  
    Not annoying at all. 


    Here are the looks I get when he rolls over on his back and is trying to decide if he might need to try to bite me or not.  The more I say "Be nice.  No biting."  the bigger his eyes get. 

    Psycho dog. 

    He is rarely relaxed.  If he is awake, he is on 100% power!  In fact, at puppy school last Saturday the instructor had put a bunch of props in the middle of the room...a tunnel, an open suitcase, a skateboard, a hula hoop, a Bosu yoga half ball.  The other puppies in our group were so timid of all the new things.  Not Cooper - he was walking all over that suitcase as it wobbled from side to side, standing on the skateboard, running through the tunnel, grabbing the hula hoop.  No fear. Not one ounce.  She should put him in agility classes, he isn't afraid of anything.   Then it was free time for the puppies to socialize.  All the puppies were removed from their leashes.  Cooper jumped up on the fireplace, then jumped on a plastic chair, ran through the tunnel, got his head stuck in a gate, tried to play with all the other puppies who either growled at him or just laid by their owners feet completely uninterested in exploring the area or engaging with my wild heathen.  Cooper was sad for a moment and then picked up the hula hoop and ran around the room with it.

    Does he make anyone else tired just reading this?  

    Then on the way home, he threw up in the car.  What a gem. 

    Then he slept hard.  

    He is learning how to play fetch.  He loves it....until he doesn't.  He is getting big enough to get on the furniture.  He isn't allowed on the furniture, so you can just imagine how that is going. 

    So basically, we are holding on by a thread.  Puppying is hard.  

    I am getting my hair cut and colored today.  CANNOT WAIT!  Hope your Thursday has some happiness sprinkled in with some laughs and sunshine! 

    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    Top Ten Tidbits

    How about the first ten things that come into my head:

    1.  Sandy's comment on my last blog post, defending Cooper's terrible manners cracked me up.  She is entirely too kind and should really start a blog all her own.  I would read it!!!
    2.  Harry is in hot pursuit of some internships.  One opportunity he is excited about is a media relations baseball gig in Eau Clair, Wisconsin.  Where the heck is that?  Also still holding out for a great gig with the Phoenix Mercury.  Fingers crossed he lands right where he belongs!
    3.  Chip isn't sleeping very well.  Waking up several times a night and still tired when the sun rises.  He needs some rest.  Poor kid.
    4.  I have the worst case of Athlete's Foot ever.  Treating it aggressively with Fast Actin' Tinactin and although it seems to be Slow Actin' Tinactin, it is getting better.
    5.  I need a haircut and color in the most serious way.  Desperate.
    6.  Planted some veggies in my garden.  Tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries.  Grow, baby grow!   I planted the zucchini and cucumber in pots with a trellis against the fence so they can climb (and stay out of reach of the furry menace).  Can't wait to see how that works out.
    7.  Cooper had an impromptu puppy play date with two big golden retrievers yesterday, courtesy of my lovely friend Cindy.  Her dogs are amazing!  One is nine years old and the other is nine months old.  The nine month old gave Cooper a run for his money.  For the first time in his life, Cooper was submissive, scared and running to his mommy.  Instead of being the one who mows down others, he was mowed down.  I think it taught him a lesson or two.
    8.  I need to rekindle my love for cooking.  I have put it down somewhere and it is lost.  Can't find it anywhere.  Now it seems like such a chore.  Any tips/suggestions for making it fun again?
    9.  Hubby has been in Vegas this week. I wanted him to play a $10 slot just once to see if he could hit some big money.  I have not heard back, so assume that was a bust.
    10.  I am making a snuffle mat....its a dog toy. I will post pictures when it is complete.

    That is all.  Get on with your day!  Make it a great one.

    Saturday, February 25, 2017

    Cooper Update

    Hello all!  Let's get you up to speed on Cooper, because  honestly there isn't much else going on around here.   

    First, he is still alive. 

    Since you last saw him, he has had a couple of big adventures.  He went to the vet and is up to 18ish pounds.  All caught up on his vaccinations so that means he started puppy school and I booked him a couple of puppy play dates with furry friends in the neighborhood. 

    He was a ROCKSTAR at Puppy School and the teacher used him as her demo dog for all activities. He is very food driven and her dried liver would have made him walk across hot coals.  As it was, he just needed to sit, come when his name was called and practice the "look" command.  He was very interested in the other dogs and people.  There were five other dogs there and I think he was the most social of the bunch.  He was friendly - not aggressive.  I was so pleased.  Never mind that he howled like his tail was stuck in the door the whole way to puppy school and home.  He is not a fan of the car, but we are working on that.  

    He is getting at least two (usually three) walks a day.  He is a great walker. 

    He killed a small snake in the yard.  

    He played with Sandy's two Papillon dogs on Thursday at their house and it went pretty well.  He was much more interested in sniffing out every corner of Sandy's house and backyard than he was in the pups at first.  Then he peed on her floor.  Mortifying.  Then he started playing a little too rough and was getting some growls in return.  It was just what he needed.  For the most part, I thought it was a huge success and was so appreciative of the exposure and experience for him. 

    Chip and Coop in the car.  He is getting better! 

    He has now mastered "Sit", "Shake", "Down", "Roll over" and we are working on Dead Dog.  He  really likes tricks because he really likes treats! 

    This morning he had another play date with a puppy named Reggie.  Reggie is a tiny little thing and Cooper was mostly interested in running him over and trying to pin him.  Reggie spent a lot of time growling at Cooper and eventually the tables turned and Reggie was chasing Cooper.  They were both exhausted.  

    Cooper is still a little nippy but getting better. - I have been shooting him with a spray bottle and although he  doesn't hate it, he doesn't love it.  It generally stops his behavior for a few minutes. 

    I will end with this adorable video of his ears flapping in the wind.  We are parked up at the high school waiting on Chip and the wind is very breezy!  This cracked me up! 


    That is all for now.  Hope your weekend is glorious! 

    Friday, February 10, 2017

    Afternoon Blues

    It's Friday!  Woo Hoo! Something so lovely about Friday!  Here is picture of Cooper that looks like it has been altered to make him appear huge.  Sadly, I am not adept at making those kinds of purposeful intentions happen with my iPhone 5 camera.  He is sitting in Chip's lap and Chip is leaning back a little bit, but honestly I just think Cooper is growing at the speed of light.

    Also, he looks so angry. Cooper - not Chip.  Sometimes he IS angry.  Actually, between 3 - 7:30 pm on the daily like clockwork, he is totally pissed off.  Not so much the "afternoon blues" but more like possessed by evil spirits.  Not sure what that is about, but I ordered a Caeser Millan book because I need to get his behavior corrected before he is as big as a house.  Let's see what the Dog Whisperer has to say about that and how we can fix it.

    I purchased a couple of new cheap dog bath accessories this week that have made an enormous difference in bath time with Cooper.  (Note:  He hates bath time, but must be washed with a medicated shampoo twice weekly to treat some kinda of skin condition he has. So, like it or not, he is spending some time in the tub getting his skin medicated.)  The first life saver I purchased is a hand held shower wand that connects to the faucet.  Much, much easier to rinse him off.  Gentle, quiet and way better than a cup.  You can move it all around and get in all the upside down places.  Game changer.  The other is an industrial strength suction cup with a foam cushioned collar to go around your dogs neck and hold them in place in the tub.  So instead of Cooper clawing at my arms and the side of the tub trying to get out, he is held by the lead in the center of the tub where I can wash and rinse him much more easily.  Yesterday's bath was without any new cuts and scrapes on my hands and arms.  Hooray.  Now if I can just get him to chill and not whine like he is being skinned alive.  He was contained in the tub yesterday and easily rinsed, but he was not happy about it!

    In other non-Cooper news.....
    • I changed the background on my Blog.  What do you think?  
    • Work is good.  Sticking to about 5 hours a day.  Feeling useful - doing good stuff.  Can't complain.  Did you hear that?  I can't complain.  About work.  Yea, that's right.  
    • Our new Bible Study is very, very interesting and thought provoking.  I like thought provoking until it starts provoking thoughts that are hard to face.  Doing the work.  Digging in.  Taking heart.  Hopefully, working some things out inside myself. 
    • The weather has been awesome. Spending lots of time out in the yard, cutting back, cleaning out, watching for new growth.  It is the best time of the year. 
    • Where are all the damn leaves coming from?  The trees are bare.  I have been raking leaves for weeks. 
    • Home maintenance. Yuck.  Short list of items that need to be addressed:  Toilet handle broken in master bathroom.  Need trees trimmed away from roof.  Gutter filters washed off of limbs, leaves and debris.  Air filter changed in A/C attic unit along with maintenance.  Softener needs salt. Need to re-caulk some areas on the exterior siding of the house.  It is always something, and usually a lot of things. 
    • I wish I liked watching basketball on TV, but I just don't. In person, it is fantastic.  Sports this time of year is the pits for me. 
    That is all I have for now!  I hope your weekend is fantastic! 

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    Trash Can and Sushi

    Blog titles are the worst. This one is no exception. See if you could have come up with anything better after reading this riveting content.

    Chip told me yesterday that using only the letters in our last name (no repeats, no extras) you can spell TRASH CAN.  How in the hell could I have not figured this out before??

    We immediately called Harry to fill him in on this stunning family news and he shocked us with some bigger news....Harry tried SUSHI and he LIKED it.  He had salmon and tuna rolls and something with tempura shrimp and thought it was delicious!  WHO IS THIS GUY?  Expanding his food horizons like a boss.

    I have resigned myself that Cooper can only behave if I have a bag of chicken in my hand. With the anticipation of a tiny bit of chicken in his future, he is an absolute angel.  Lays down perfectly, looks at you with those sweet eyes, follows commands, pays no mind to people walking by.  I can get through prepping, cooking and eating dinner with him obediently parked on this kitchen rug....although the presence of a broom or rake can definitely break the chicken trance.  Now, make no mistake...the minute (no, the second) the chicken is gone or out of sight, he loses his mind.  He bites feet, shoes, pants, pulls curtains, drags blankets and pillows off the couch, digs holes in the back yard and basically terrorizes the place and the people sharing the place with him.  The chicken trance gives me hope that he can I just need him to want to behave.  Big difference between the two. 

    After some research online, I have started putting on his training leash during the day and just letting him drag it around behind him.  I can easily step on the leash to restrict him from jumping, biting, pulling on pants, lunging at ankles by just stepping on the leash.  I try to give him about six or eight inches of slack.  Enough to stand up, but not go anywhere.  He does not like being restricted and fusses quite a bit.  Within a minute he seems to calm down and I step off.  Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 times until he moves on to some other activity, but it does seem to be working.  

    I honestly don't remember Astro being so mouthy or aggressive as a puppy.  Chip was only 18 months old when we brought Astro home and I don't remember ever worrying about him biting or snapping at my toddler.  I do recall that Astro responded well to just a stern voice and a harsh look. Cooper gives zero shits about my stern voice or my harsh looks.  He takes it as a challenge and ramps up his barking, snapping, grabbing, lunging to prove he can out harsh me.  I will keep trying new tactics until I find what works for this guy.  May be that I always have a bag of cooked chicken in my pocket.  We shall see.  

    Let's just take a moment to look at the amazing growth of a puppy.  These pictures were taken sixteen days apart. 

    I think he is on steroids.  

    This was taken last night. 
    He is 11 weeks old....looking like a grown dog but totally still a baby.

    Hope your hump day is without too many humps! 

    Saturday, February 4, 2017

    Cooper Walks Himself

    Cooper loves to go for a walk with his leash.  He is not supposed to be around other dogs or in places where other dogs have been because he still needs to finish his vaccinations.  I have been practicing him in the house with his leash and we take a short walk to the mailbox once a day. He is a bit of a scaredy cat, but does much better than I ever imagined he would.  A few treats in my pocket keep him moving forward and close.  Of course, he spends most of the walk thinking he is walking himself.  He proudly struts down the street with his leash in his mouth.  It is adorable. 

    He is getting better every day, but gets really crazy with the snapping, lunging, biting in the early evenings.  Especially, if we lay on the floor and play with him.  It just seems to make him think we are inviting him to come at us.  So, we are going to cut out playing with him on the floor in the evenings to see if we can curb that behavior.

    In the mornings, he is pretty sweet for playtime with Chip. 

    I assume in the mornings he is well rested and fed so he can behave nicely.  In the evenings, he just gets tired and cranky like a toddler and can't control himself.  Time and consistency will help I am sure.  I have to keep reminding myself we have only had him 18 days....even though sometimes it feels like months and months.  It is a marathon! 

    In other news....
    • Chip did not make the high school baseball team.  He thought tryouts had gone pretty well but he was definitely nervous.  He found out Wednesday morning about 15 minutes before the school day started and was devastated.  It was a very painful day for him and it was pretty sucky to have to see him walk through that.  He went through Wednesday holding in his emotions, finding the courage to congratulate his friends that did make the team and making me so proud. Heart could literally have burst when he told me he had congratulated the other boys.  I picked him up about an hour early from school on Wednesday and we hit Sonic hard. Ate some junk food and sat in the car shedding some tears, using inappropriate curse words, plotting funny revenge and trying to find some humor in the pain. We talked about it a lot and felt all the hard and awful emotions.  It was the pits.  But today, it hurts less and tomorrow it will hurt even less. Love that kid.

    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    The Stalker

    This little baby.  


    Don't let the adorable little fuzzy body fool you. 

    Or the darling little sleepy face. 

    He is a killer.  
    He has killed a rake.  
    He killed a broom.  
    He killed a frisbee.  
    Now he is killing laundry!  

    Born predator, I tell you  

    Just kidding.  He isn't a killer.  He is more of a stalker. 

    I introduced him to the kong.  
    A kong filled with banana, carrots and chicken.  He was obsessed!  
    Got at least a solid 45 minutes out of him working on that thing!  

    In addition to being a stalker, he is a leaf eater, hole digger and a cat napper.  

    He snoozes a lot. 

    Look at this pose!  

    He is very smart.  He has mastered "sit" "shake" "down" and now we are moving on to "roll over".  Roll over isn't practical, but it is fun!  

    I have also been working with him on the leash.  
    We walk around the house and a little bit down the cul-de-sac.  
    He is doing pretty well.  

    Here he is in action.


    This morning was his first bath.  It was with medicated shampoo.  He was not impressed.  I was soaping him down and Chip was funneling him bits of chicken to make the bath something yummy and good.  He was taking the chicken but also whining and clawing to get out of the tub at the same time.  I was hoping the "where is the chicken" side of his brain would take over the "holy crap, why are you trying to drown me" side of his brain.  It didn't work.  Good news is we get to do it again on Wednesday!  Two days a week until further notice! 

    Hope your weekend is better than great!