Friday, October 12, 2012


I had an interesting conversation with a customer the other day. We were killing time waiting for her phone to activate or some such, I can't even remember anymore, but I asked her what I ask most customers when we have down time, "So what are you up to today? Anything fun?"

She told me that she had to run by her work and do a few more errands, nothing particularly interesting.

"Oh? What do you do?" I questioned mildly.

"I work for the library," she replied with a smile.

This launched an avid conversation about sorting books by genre versus author because the Deschutes County Library is the first library that I have encountered that sorts its fiction by author rather than genre and I had a bone of contention with that. She went on to explain to me that apparently they get more complaints when it's sorted by genre than by author because some people are more wont to argue about the validity of one author or book being one genre or the other. For example, some would classify Michael Crichton as science fiction (hello, because he is), but also tests the realms of horror (did you read "Congo"????), drama (he did create ER after all), some mystery, and even just realistic fiction. So rather than argue ten times a day about that, they just make it easy...

...except for people like me who read by genre not by author.


We also had a discussion that brought about a topic that disturbed me greatly.

I mentioned that I would love it if their e-library was bigger. She said it was the biggest in the state, and I agreed, but still.

"Did you know that most publishing houses won't sell e-books to libraries?" she told me. "And the ones that do charge so much that it's not even worth it? Not to mention that there's no good way for patrons to donate e-books because libraries don't have access to Amazon specifically and all the rights surrounding them prevents us from loaning books that way."

This was news to me. Especially since if you're checking out one of their "Kindle"-filetypes you have to go to Amazon to download it.

The specific example she gave me was Fifty Shades of Grey. "The paperback copy of that book costs the library seven dollars apiece. The e-book? That's forty-five dollars per copy."

That's abhorrent.

How does that make sense?

I mean, I know that logistically it sort of does, because it'd be hard to moderate otherwise, and they have to have specific codes built into library copies that cause them to "expire," but I mean really. Forty-five dollars? For Fifty Shades of Grey?

That book just wasn't that good.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Inculcate

So I was reading, as I am apt to do, and was stumped by a word. Now, I could get the point of the word from the surrounding sentences, and I've read this book so many times that I've seen it before, but by george, I think I always thought it was "innoculated."

So wrong.

The word as I read it was "inculcated." You see my confusion?

inculcate. verb. [in-kuhl-keyt]. to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly. to cause or influence (someone) to accept an idea or feeling.
  • inculcate virtue in the young.
  • Socrates inculcated his pupils with the love of truth.
Enjoy my confusion! Ever been confused by a word?


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Perils of Parenthood

As many of you know, we're the proud new parents of the cutest little bundle of fur to walk this earth like...ever. Meet Banyan:

His big sister, Maddie, our other sweet bundle of fur, thinks he's the devil incarnate even though she's twice his size at her all-of-eight-pounds.

I'll be honest. We thought he'd be bigger than the 4.8 lbs he was when we brought him home.

Our trip began last Wednesday, we hit the road in the dark of 5:30 a.m. Someone was very excited. Okay, well, both of us were. We made it to Ellensburg, WA at about 10:15 am, due to the nature of empty roads and excited driving. We were forty five minutes too early to go to the breeder, so we used our cool new iPhone 4S's to find Safeway for some mid-morning breakfast sandwiches.

Mid-sandwich, the breeder called us and told us that her previous appointment was done early, so if we wanted to, we could head on over if we'd made it to town and were just killing time (how did she know?). I said great! and told her we'd be over in 15 minutes.

We pulled up the dirt road onto her property, and met her for the first time. We met one of her employees when we went up to meet Jill, the mommy. She lead us to the "backyard" which was really more like a grassy, fenced, courtyard between her home and her breeding facilities. Her husband breeds Labs and she breeds Goldens, so they were quite established breeders.

Six tiny little golden boys raced along the fenceline, tails a-wag, to greet us as we walked to the gate.

Our first comment was, "They're so tiny!" Because from the pictures, you'd have to agree, they were much larger. We were envisioning bringing home a ten- to fifteen-pound puppy, when in reality, there was only one larger than 5 lbs., with most being smaller.

Then came the challenge of choosing just one of those sweet puppy faces!

It took us an hour and a half.

We immediately eliminated one who was a lot more independent. We were left with five, and what our top three boiled down to was purely personality. There were three particularly sweet boys, one small and whiteish like his mommy, one bigger and redder, and one in the middle.

Sadly, the middle one was quickly eliminated as we "liked the other two equally" and he had a heart murmur. The breeder said that he would probably grow out of it, but unless he was the only one we loved, as we had first pick we'd be better off with someone else. Which is too bad, because he was a very sweet boy.

We both bonded quickly with the redder one, but struggled for a long time between the two because the "aptitude" of the smaller one was closer to what we wanted, but the red one was the one who climbed into our laps first and the one who kept coming back to say hi and snuggle. Finally, we let our hearts choose, and the red guy became our Banyan.

The drive home went relatively well. While warned that he'd probably wail and cry the whole way home, we had our "nerves of steel" prepared. He cried very little, and we ended up being failures at strength (and so proud at how good he was being) and cuddled him in our laps.

He was such a good boy for the first couple days. We were sleepless but happy as we struggled to figure out the best sleep schedule for him that didn't have us cleaning up messes or getting woken up by his crying.

By the second night, he barely whimpered when kenneled for the night and we were so proud of our little boy for his progress.

Then the third night (Friday night) met with some mild complications in the form of diarrhea in the middle of the night. We were a little worried, but not overly so as the breeder told us to expect some due to the stress of a new home and being taken from his siblings. Saturday morning it still hadn't stopped, so we all trooped off to the vet. There was no crisis, and our vet calmly assuaged our fears.

It wasn't extreme enough to be parvo, but let's just check for generic parasites and here's a general antibiotic to give him to clear up anything lingering until we get the test results back on Monday.

Relieved, we went home and I went off to work.

We thought it concerning that he continued to have loose poop throughout the day, but were not super worried as the vet had told us that it would continue for a little while. That night though, our poor little boy took a turn for the worse. Every twenty minutes to half hour had an accident or weak whimpering to go out. Outside, we'd shiver and worry while he strained at nothing left. What he little did produce was bloody and mucusy. Our five pound little man had a hollowed belly and was so weak he could barely do that.

At 3 a.m. he threw up.

That was the final straw for me. I got on the phone with the emergency vet and she said to bring him in because it was sounding like parvo.

For those of you who don't know, parvo is a puppy-parent's worst nightmare. The production of diarrhea and vomit dehydrates the pup to a dangerous point if it doesn't outright kill him within the first day and a half. Treating it is extremely expensive in money, time, and emotional distress.

"Canine parvovirus is a particularly deadly disease among young puppies, about 80% fatal, causing gastrointestinal tract damage and dehydration as well as a cardiac syndrome in very young pups. It is spread by contact with an infected dog's feces. Symptoms include lethargy, severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration." Wikipedia
We took him in and the vet examined him. He wasn't exhibiting the intestinal sensitivity (pain) and hardness one would expect with parvo, so most likely it wasn't, but he could be tested just in case. In the meantime, they would give him fluids and run another fecal (since we weren't getting the original back for another 24 hours) for the most concerning parasites. They told us to go home and sleep for a couple hours while they ran his tests and treated him and they would call us with results and when to come pick him up.

I cried on the way home, and cried when we went back to bed and cuddled a perturbed and needy cat (who thinks that the whole puppy thing sucks in general and has become increasingly attentive when he's kenneled). We finally fell asleep and were awoken by the vet calling a couple hours later.

"So we got the parvo results back," she began, and I choked back a sob, "and it's negative."

It was a less deadly infection called coccidia with a side of giardia. They rarely kill, but had we been less attentive parents, less concerned, or had continued to say, "oh we'll get the results on Monday, he'll be fine until then," Banyan could have become dehydrated to the point of...well. Luckily for him, we very attentive, bordering on overreactionary.

He got antibiotics, came home with us, and ever since we've been very concerned about his poop.

Ninety percent of our conversations during the day surround Banyan's poop.

"Did he poop?"

"How much?"

"What color is it?"

"Is it soft or hard?"

...and my favorite...

"What does it smell like?"

He's doing fine, driving us nuts, and has given Maddie giardia, which gives her even more reasons to love him — as she also had to be medicated twice a day for five days, something that was just abhorrent to her.

Everyone is okay though, he's up from 5 lbs. to 6.8 lbs. and learning to sit, ring his bell to go outside, and not to bite Mommy.

We've been getting more sleep too.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Dreamt

Now, dreamt isn't exactly a big word, so we're going for fun fact this week. Did you know that dreamt is the only word in the English language to end in -mt? The only one!

Isn't that cool?

dreamt. verb. [dremt]. a simple past tense and past participle of dream.  

Do you know any fun facts about words?


Monday, October 1, 2012

Most Delicious and Nutritious

I made this salad several days ago, but the beauty of delayed posting is I actually wrote this post the same night I made the salad!

It was delicious.

I went a little overboard on the onion, so it was a bit strong, but sooooo good. Perfect for lunches (though pack strong mints!) or a hot summer evening. So good, and so easy!

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salad
2 ears raw sweet corn, cut kernels from cob 
2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced red onions
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the corn, beans, parsley, onions, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and honey or brown sugar. Let the salad marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.