Category Archives: Bestiary

Things to do in N.W. Iowa when it’s -21 outside….

Today, the temp hovered around -1, with windchill to -21 and 25 mph winds. And here’s how we spent the day:

7 a.m.: wake up to walk the dogs before driving 45 minutes to Quaker meeting. Open back door and find excessive frost on the screen door:


Remember how painful it was to walk dogs 2 weeks ago, when wind chill was -16. Reflect that at least two Iowans have died of exposure this month, following one-car accidents. Avoid making eye-contact with dogs. Go back to bed.

9 a.m.: Get up a second time. Crank the heat up to 74 so the basement will be at least 64 when going down to shower. Shower. Dry hair, feed cats, feed bird, feed dogs. Do not say the word “walk.” Do not look at the back door. Do not make eye contact.

9:10 a.m.: If you’re a little green parrot, gobble down breakfast. You never go outside anyway, so what do you care?


10 a.m: In a fit of guilt, rearrange living room furniture so loveseat is under window and Violet can look outside.


10:30: If you’re Violet, look outside for half an hour and then go sleep on your pad in the bathroom. Do they think a comfy window seat will make you forget the complete absence of a walk?

11 a.m.: If you’re Ricky, mope because someone still hasn’t taken you for a walk.


11:15 a.m.: Go outside to prove it’s not too cold to take a walk. The sun is shining, even.


11:16 a.m.: Walk around outside. Stay in lee of garage because it really is freaking cold and windy outside.

11:20 a.m.: Come back inside. Mope some more — people control everything and could probably make the weather better if they wanted to. Everybody hates you and you hope they noticed that you did not touch your breakfast (but Violet gobbled it down after eating hers, so the drama of an untouched bowl is kind of lost).


Noon: Have lunch. Remove 4 of the licorice whips before taking the picture.


12:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Work on patchwork tote bag.


2:35 p.m.: Memorialize patchwork with digital camera. Realize two of the same patches are right next to one another. Decide not to care.


2:40 to 3:45 p.m.: Take nap on bed, with dogs. Even though they’ve been sleeping all day, they love nap time with their person. Must be some weird pack thing. Oh, and they expect a walk afterwards, as almost always happens. When getting up, don’t make eye contact.

4:00 p.m.: Check the weather. Wind chill has warmed up to -19.

4:15 p.m.: For no good reason, take picture of self with bird.


4:30 p.m.: Realize you’re bored and probably need a good walk. It’s still too cold outside.

4:45 p.m: Feed cats, bird, dogs.

4:50 -5:10 p.m.: Play indoor tennis ball chase with Ricky while simultaneously playing plush ball toss/catch with Violet. Raised heart rates and mild satisfaction ensue for all involved.

5:15 p.m.: Decide to make bean soup with cornmeal dumplings.

5:17 p.m.: Realize there aren’t enough canned beans.

5:18 p.m.: Or cornmeal.

5:20 p.m.: Make tomato soup and a toasted cheese sandwich.

5:21-5:23 p.m: Wonder why everyone in the world except for you and your immediate family calls it “grilled cheese” rather than “toasted cheese.”

5:25 p.m.: Settle down with dinner and season three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

6 p.m.: Realize you have reading responses to grade.

6:02 p.m.: Decide not to grade them. Ask self what’s the point of being the teacher if you can’t not grade stuff? Turn up T.V. and eat some more licorice.

9:00 p.m.: check temperature and wind chill. Both are the same, zero degrees. Resolve to walk dogs in morning before school.

9:10 p.m.: Write blog entry.

9:45 p.m.: Finish blog entry. Wonder if one or two licorice whips may have escaped your notice. Wander off in search of them.


Poor Ricky Pup…

Well, Ricky just had his second observed seizure (that is, the second time I saw him seize). I posted about a month ago about his first seizure and the dramatic rush to the vet. They did blood work and ruled out kidney/liver failure, which I guess is a first prime concern. They advised me to keep a log of observed seizures, which I just started. I’m heading over to the vet in a few minutes to pick up some cat food, so I’ll discuss this with them, as well.

Given Ricky’s beagle heritage, epilepsy is the most probable diagnosis, and if seizures remain mild and infrequent, I understand he won’t even need medication. Right now, he’s resting and seems fine, if a little needy of his mama. Anyway, say a prayer or spare a thought for my beagle/husky guy.


I’ll stick with Diet Pepsi…

Yeah, take it from me: on a Monday morning when you’re struggling to wake up, remembering to pack a lunch, and figuring out what to wear, all at the same time, nothing snaps you awake like realizing your beagle/husky mix is quietly having a seizure in the living room.

Holy Crap.

Ricky was lying on his stomach, head stretched between his front legs, trembling violently all over, for about 2 minutes. Then he was a bit dopey for another minute or so. I was still dressed from the waist down in my stinky, should-have-been-washed-Sunday dog walking jeans and tennis shoes. I grabbed the first clean shirt in my closet, called the vet, loaded Ricky in the car, and tore off across town. Ricky was, of course, by now feeling fine and hanging his head out the window enjoying the unusual Monday morning adventure. Me, I got to work just in time to teach and realized mid-class that my once-a-month period migraine was starting. What a Monday.

They did a blood draw on Ricky. Apparently the most severe and immediate concern with seizures is liver/kidney failure, and he was fine in that department. He was dehydrated, though, which may be the foundation of the seizure. He’s been suffering an allergic reaction to a bug bite all weekend (I took him to the vet for that on Saturday morning) and when he’s not feeling well, Ricky just stops eating. I guess he was drinking less, too, but I hadn’t really noticed. The other possibility is the early signs of epilepsy, which is fairly easy (and cheap) to control in dogs, I understand, and may not ever require medication if seizures are few and far between. Either way, I’m glad my boy is doing well for now. He came home and drank a lot of water and ate a full meal for the first time since Thursday.

Now he’s resting, I’m resting post migraine, the parrot is asleep on my shoulder as I type this, Violet is snoozing beside me, and Astrid is in the basement, pissed as all hell that Ricky came home — she spent his absence stretched out on the living room sofa.

My credit card can use the rest, too.

A little dog action

First week of school — satisfying and exhausting all at once. The livestock, of course, have been feeling deserted and unloved since I’m suddenly gone 6-8 hours a day after being home all summer. So tonight, after some quality parrot time and a good brushing for the cats, I played with the dogs and got a few pics.

Most of the pics are of Violet, the little dog I adopted last spring. She continues to blossom here at Chez Schaechterle. In the last few weeks, she’s started playing, both wrestling gently with my hand and playing growly tug of war with one of Ricky’s old, de-squeeked plush toys. And this week, she’s had two breakthroughs. First, we learned she likes to catch, snatching the toy out of the air when it’s tossed over her head. Second, and even better, just yesterday and today she picked up the toy and came to find me, rather than me initiating all our play time. Pretty nifty.

Enjoy the pics (click to embiggen).

Here’s her “come hither and play” look:


And that classic terrier play pose, butt in air:


Here you can see how hard she’s tugging. Check out that flapping ear action:


And here’s Ricky asking for a bit of play, since Violet’s getting all the attention:


And getting his wish:



So I’m much too busy wringing the last drops of goofing off out of my summer to a) post much or b) think of anything worth posting about. Thus, here is a mere snippet for you and I hope soon to a) get more philosophical or b) have a life beyond knitting and library novels.*

Violet, the Havanese mix dog I adopted 4 months ago, has really blossomed into a happy, loving little girl. But she is a bit of a princess, as illustrated by what happened on our walk this a.m.

She stops to sniff a dried worm on the sidewalk. Then she very carefully peels it up, carries it over to a particularly lush patch of lawn, sets it down, and then rolls all over it with glorious abandon. Because rolling on the worm on the sidewalk would be, you know, gauche.

*Actually, I’d love a life centered around knitting and novels, but no one seems to want to pay me for reading and playing with yarn.

He’s gonna live forever…FAME!

A few posts ago I showed you the captioned pic of Zeke I sent in to the lolcats website — well, it was chosen for posting. I’m pretty sure it was the cuteness of Zeke and the novelty of his parrotude rather than my caption that secured my little green chicken his 15 minutes of fame (and 40 comments and a rating of 4 out of 5 cheezeburgers).

Below is a pic of Zeke checking out his own online awesomeness. Now there’ll be no living with him…..(click to embiggen):


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I’ve Lost All Control of This Household

I should be grading right now, so instead I’ll share with you last night’s happenings.

Every night at bedtime, Ricky curls up right in the center of the bed, evidently hoping that one special night I’ll say, “yeah, you keep the bed. I’ll sleep on the floor.” So last night, like every night before, I chided him into taking his accustomed space at the foot of the bed. Then I went to brush my teeth. I came back to find this (click to embiggen):


Close up:
Extreme close up:

Yes, I made her move. About 6 inches to the right — she’s just so damn cute.

And yes, I have washed those sheets in between this pic and the earlier Violet-is-so-damn-cute pink sheet pic.

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