Thursday, January 31, 2008


Is there such a thing as a mild case of Munchausens? I am the biggest baby when I'm sick or when I get hurt and it's probably because I want others to feel sorry for me. I don't go MAKING myself sick or anything, I don't eat old eggs to make myself puke, but when I fell on my way to the bathroom at 1:00 this morning (god that makes me sound so. damn. old.) and Wrigley came running right to me and then frantically woke up S., I wanted S.'s immediate attention and, well, sympathy.

This is hard to get at 1 am.

I slipped on the laminate floor and landed on my left knee and elbow. There's usually a rug there, but it had moved quite a bit as a result of crazy puppies running up and down the hallway.

The knee, it hurts. Stairs are a problem. Very big scrapes, which will turn into three very big scabs, which I'll likely pick--at which point any sympathy S. may have had for me will evaporate.

P.S. Found Belly's boot last night. But I'm still thinking about safety orange for next winter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I got nuthin'

I feel very empty of blog content these days. Every time I think of something I might write on here, two seconds later I think it's a) stupid or b) too long and involved for me to have the patience to write it. But I have been writing three days a week. It's going. Yesterday Cheryl asked me what's different about writing this book vs. writing the dissertation. My answer: I actually know the argument that runs through the entire thing. Better yet, I can articulate that argument.

So, here's a list of things that fall into no particular category:

1. The skin on my right index finger is going to be non-existent by the time I finish writing chapter 1.

2. I can see how I will very easily get addicted to Scramble. Good thing my work computer won't let me download the apps that it and Scrabulous require.

3. It was so damn cold this morning that Belly didn't wanna go outside to go pot. I don't blame her. It just ain't right.

4. We lost one of Belly's boots last night. They're camoflauge, so kinda hard to find. I'm thinking the next pair will be safety orange. I know, I know, the squirrels will see her coming this way, but that's the price we gotta pay, I guess.

5. S. had an MRI yesterday and the Xanax they gave him to lessen his anxiety knocked him out for the entire day. I want some o' that.

6. Teaching a 9:00 class and then a 3:00 class on the same day requires a large-o cup o' coffee at about 2:00. Refresh!

7. I think Wrigley's starting to grow on the Belly Girl. But don't tell her I said that.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Amazon Amy

and Becky, of course.

When I was a kid, we had this very old shellacked newspaper hanging on our wall in an out-of-the-way place. It listed a bunch of characters for I-don't-know-what, but the first one on the list was Amazon Amy. Why that's stuck with me, I don't know. Maybe cuz I always worried that I'd end up being as big as Amazon Amy.

While writing this morning in my school office, I moseyed on over to Amazon, did a vanity search, and look what I found.

Big. Not as big as I imagined Amazon Amy to be.

But pretty darn sharp.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I seeeeeee you...

Ah, life before the Wiggles came to town. It was so easy...


Monday, January 21, 2008

a different kind of pain

So yesterday S. and I spent about an hour working with Wrigley on the dog door. Both Wrigley and Belly got lots of treats during this hour, so much so that I cut down on Belly's dinner. I mean, come on, the girl wasn't even working, but she got treats treats treats cuz her goofball little sister finally made it through the door.

I'd be outside on the deck, S. would be right inside, and we'd cajole her to go in and out. And then back in again. Wait. We're not done. Back outside again. And on and on, and each time she went through the door she was greeted with loads of praise. Oh, what a good girl we have! What a good baby! Good girl! Good girl! Good girl! Yeah, that's a good baby!

After about 45 minutes of this I said to S., "all this cheering and praise is starting to hurt my face. I'm exhausted."

And Belly said, me too. Maybe I can have another treat?

And Wrigley said, huh?


Saturday, January 19, 2008

two beautiful girls

Wrigley looks so regal in this pic, but really, she's a clown. Don't let her fool you.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

this post is not about dogs

It's about the rest of my life, which consists of

a. teaching
b. writing
c. social commitments

Not much to say about c. these days. Been overwhelmed with what this post is not about.

As for a. and b., things are coming along nicely. Both of my classes seem like they're going to be a lot of fun to teach, and by fun I mean that I'm going to get almost as much out of them as I think the students will. In senior seminar, I've shaped the course loosely around the question of what can be bought and sold in an information economy. The other day in class I realized that the question could also be what can be bought and sold in a gift economy, but the more I think about it, the more I like the first version better. In any case, in just the first week, we've had some really engaging, productive discussions about what constitutes "fulfilling" work. And in my rhetoric course, we're investigating the rhetoric of "monsters" in public life, with an emphasis, of course, on the ways in which we define ourselves in contrast to the monsters that we create. This is why I love teaching: I get to investigate with students issues that matter, issues that change from semester to semester, issues that help me figure out what I want to say in my scholarship.

As I told my students--both classes--the other day, during a discussion of what David Graeber calls a psychological need to feel like we're doing good in the world, I have the best job in the world.

So what if my collection of personal essays on social class was rejected by three publishers? Maybe the essays need to be published individually. Maybe they'll never get published. But you know what? I had to write my essay on class to get to the ideas I have today. If you'd told me that two and a half years ago, I wouldn't have done it. Ah, the learning curve.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Horrible, horrible things I've been eating with abandon since the start of the new year and the major changes in our little canine family:

1. Doritos
2. Brach's candy hearts
3. pop tarts with one serving of whole grain. I shit you not. I actually let myself believe that this somehow makes it okay (not really). Plus, they were on sale for a buck.
4. pizza

Belly's method for comforting herself over the loss of Scully and Mulder and/or the arrival of Wrigley is to spend some quiet time in the crate. Gotta wonder what she's thinking when we shut Wrigley in the crate when we leave for work.

It's amazing to me how much words can be a comfort. S. and I have received so many loving cards and messages and it really helps. It helps to know others understand how hard this all is.

Little Miss Wiggly Wrigley has been a big help, but I can't help but wonder if having her here is getting in the way of mourning. I guess the best answer to that is the very fact that I'm aware that that's a possiblity and to let myself miss the short ones. There is now nobody in the house I can call "short stuff." I'm so used to saying it that I called Wrigley that the other day.

Slowly. It all happened so fast, and now we deal with it slowly.


Sunday, January 13, 2008


Here's our newest little baby girl. She's adjusting remarkably well. This photo of Belly and Wrigley playing in the back yard is from right when we got home from the Humane Society. I am so so happy to see Annabelle playing with another dog. She hasn't played with a dog in at least two years.

Wrigley looks up to her big sister, follows her around, and loves the scent of her butt. They also love that they get treats when the other one does something good.

Wrigley loves loves loves her daddy. They've bonded instantly, and she's gonna be a huge help as we continue to mourn Mulder and Scully.

Um, Annabelle is strange. She hasn't seen her crate in at least four years. Last night she got in it. She's missed it, she wants us to know. Or, you could say she's looking to recapture her youth. She had us cracking up. Look at this pathetic face.

Happy to have our Wiggle girl home. Happy to see our girls getting along so well. Happy that we've chosen such a happy happy girl. Happy new year.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Mulder 1993-2008

Um, yeah, I'm done with 2008. We've decided we want to begin our new year tomorrow. Anyone want to join us? Poor little Mulder. We euthanized her on Thursday evening. Of S.'s three dogs (incredibly, he lost three dogs in the space of seven months, two in the space of a week), Mulder was the hardest for me. For a couple reasons: 1. I have so much guilt about complaining about her all the time, and 2. She was the one we had to actually make a decision about. We could have kept her around for a few more weeks, maybe even a month. But she wouldn't eat. And when a beagle doesn't eat, you know she's not happy. Especially Mulder.

We were both with her when she passed, holding her and stroking her and crying. As Becky said to me recently, she was a pain in the ass, but a loved pain in the ass. We told her how much we loved her and to tell her sisters how much we love them and that she'd no longer be in pain. And she could eat as much as she wanted at the big buffet in the sky. And eating would be fun again.

At Christmastime, S.'s work had a Humane Society tree where people would put up pics and give brief descriptions of their dogs. S. wrote about Mulder's favorite things to do: 1) eat. 2) eat. 3) eat. 4) eat. He forgot to mention how much she loved going for walks with her sisters. She had quite the little waddle.

Last Christmas Eve, we went downstairs to fill up the dogs’ stockings. When Mulder saw us put treats in the stockings, she stayed on the couch downstairs barking for well over an hour. We went out to pick up Chinese food and then across the street to visit our neighbors, and she was still barking when we got back. Finally, the barking stopped. I went downstairs to check on her, and she was asleep on the couch, having barked herself to sleep.
Rest in peace, little beagle. We loved you though we sometimes had a funny way of showing it. That we yelled at you will haunt us for a long time. That you remained a happy, happy girl in spite of our frustrations shows us what a gift you were.

Monday, January 07, 2008

a week of extremes

This is Wrigley. I took this picture from the Humane Society website, and they had named her Macy. Her cage now has an "adopted" sign on it, and we pick her up on Saturday. Yesterday S. spent more than an hour digging out Belly's old crate from the very secure spot in the waaaaaaaaaaaaay back of the closet that he'd put it when I moved in. Priorities, he was thinking. We're not gonna need this thing any time soon, if ever.

Mulder's not doing well, either, people. I'm carrying around so much guilt about her that I didn't even want to write about her. But I have to. I had a bit of a breakdown on Saturday night, feeling like Mulder got lost in the shuffle of Scully and now she's gonna get lost in the shuffle of Wrigley and I was always yelling at her and now that she's sick I'm being so nice to her. What a goddamn hypocrite I am. Much of what ails her is likely due to her age: 14 1/2. She's like a little old lady who won't eat and is drinking too much water and is likely at the beginning of kidney failure.

On Thursday while Scully was in surgery and we sat in the "sad room" at the vet's office, we alternated between reminiscing about Scully and thinking up funny names for the boy dog we wanted to adopt right away. I love the name Claudius because then we could call him Claude and Clodhopper and we could begin a whole bunch of funny sentences with "I, believe my sister stinks." When we'd catch ourselves laughing, we'd remember why we were there, and we'd feel so much guilt, like we were replacing Scully before we even said goodbye to her. Then on Saturday night after we'd picked out Wrigley--the FEMALE dog we wanted to adopt right away--I was feeling so much guilt for Annabelle, like I was somehow replacing her. I wanted to try to control how much I love Wrigley because I don't ever want Annabelle to feel like she's not my number 1 girl. But of course I can't do that.

I take Mulder in this morning for an ultrasound for her kidneys. That poor little beagle.

And for the record, this is the first winter break that I can honestly say involved very little work.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

because we need something to smile about

Here's Belly with her two Christmas toys from Santa. A turtle named Lulu and a hard rubber tire. Likely she'll be giving that hard rubber tire to her NEW BABY SISTER because that little sister will be looking for things to chew on. In one week we'll go back to the Humane Society to pick up her 10-month old sister, a black lab mutt who could very well be Annabelle, rewound 5 1/2 years. More on the new girl soon, but chew on this: her name will be Wrigley. Now, that's a pretty common name for doggies around these parts and lord knows I don't want to give my new girl a common name. But given that S.'s last name is Field, well, how could we NOT name her Wrigley Field? Her full name: Wrigley Juniper Robillard Field.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scully 1996-2008

Our little Scully girl is no longer with us. The cancer was in her liver as well as her spleen, and if we'd woken her up from surgery, she'd have had no more than a few weeks with us.

She was S.'s baby doll, his favorite girl, his best dog ever. She had always had an old soul but she knew how to romp around and have fun. Her heart was so kind, so big, so full of love. She was an excellent strategist, and more than once we called on her to help plan search parties for that pesky little sister of hers, Annabelle Blue.

She loved watching the Cubbies with Daddy (and, more recently, with Mommy). She loved college football, too, but where Daddy rooted for the Tennessee Vols, her heart was with the Florida Gators. (We think this is because she really really wanted to get the job as Tennessee's mascot, but Smokey got it.)

She used George Bush for a pillow a few times, but once she learned more about his politics, she stuffed him under the couch. Her breath at the end could make you see through time, and her farts could clear a room in 5 seconds flat. She loved Elvis, hated the car, hated the vet's office even more.

She'd been tied to the door of the shelter in 1999, and the vet estimated her age as between 2 and 4, so they split the difference and called her 3. She had almost nine years of adoration from S., and she gave him almost nine years of joy.

She's now at the big buffet in the sky, chasing bunnies and squirrels, playing with Kylie and McFly. She'll live on in our hearts forever.
We love you Scullybugs. Short Stuff. Butthead. Stinkbomb. Baby Doll.
Fat Scully. There'll never be another you.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Scully, our little snausage dog, has hystiocytic sarcoma. I say "our" dog, but really she's S.'s girl, his favorite girl, his best friend. I'm torn up by what this is doing to Scully, yes, but also by what this is doing to S. It's awful. Simply awful. We found out on December 31. Confirmed on January 1. There are a couple treatment options. I think S. is going to opt for exploratory surgery with two possible outcomes: a) the cancer is only in the spleen, so they can remove it and we'll have more time with her; or b) the cancer is in other organs, in which case S. will likely decide not to wake her up.

Scully is to S. what Belly is to me. I love that dog, but I can never love her the way he does. And I try to put myself in his situation, but I just can't. I can't imagine making these kinds of decisions.

This just sucks. No other way to put it.