Friday, May 30, 2008

How Not to Groom a Pekingese

Haiku Friday
itchy sneezey dog
vets says let’s see some pink skin
sad naked Peke now

Blitzkrieg is allergic to corn and wheat. Once I switched him to an allergy free diet, Blitzkrieg stopped power scratching. The hair grew back on the bald spot he made from scratching himself so much and his temperament improved. (Anecdotal evidence suggests that a corn free diet helps dogs with fear or aggression issues.) In other words, as long as I kept Blitzkrieg away from corn and wheat, he was itch free and life was good. It’s difficult because both corn and wheat are in almost every dog food or treat out there, from the cheapo doggie junk food brands to the expensive made with human-quality ingredients brands, but the benefits are definitely worth the truble.

Last spring, Blitzkrieg started scratching himself with a vengeance again. A trip to the veterinarian was in order. After a through exam (which Blitzkrieg absolutely hated) the vet suggested that we shave do a “therapeutic shave down” so we could see if Blitzkrieg had some sort of rash or lesion that may be the cause of the new itching and scratching. I agreed.

This is what I dropped off at the vet/groomers.

This is what I picked up later that day.


I had a naked dog! I honestly didn’t recognize Blitzkrieg when they brought him to me at the vet’s office. He looked like some weird mutant Pug! He wasn’t scratching himself anymore, but he sure was pissed off at me for doing this to him.


Thankfully, Blitzkrieg’s condition was nothing serious. The vet said Blitzkrieg has seasonal allergies that we easily treat with medication during the pollen season.

Eventually we all adjusted to the mutant dog haircut. Blitzkrieg came to terms with it once he went to agility class and realized that he was able to run across the dog walk and not pant as much afterward. Pekingese and other brachycephalic breeds (smash faced dogs) are more susceptible to heatstroke than their non-smash faced dog brethren. I took advantage of Blitzkrieg’s severe summer ‘do and took him to a few more summer festivals than in previous years because I didn’t have to worry as much about Blitzkrieg overheating and getting heatstroke in the summer sun.
In addition, I got some interesting comments about my freaky little Peke. My personal favorite came from a drunk guy at a music festival who yelled a crossed a parking lot at me, “Hey! Your dog sure has a big dick!” How do you answer that one? Do you answer that one? If so, what is the polite thing to say? “Um…thank you?”

Lately, friends and neighbors are asking me if I’m going to shave Blitzkrieg for the summer again. I’m not sure. Before we rescued and rehabilited Blitzkrieg, he was beaten when he was groomed. That’s why our boy is missing an eye and some teeth. The shave down allowed me under a behaviorist’ guidance to work with Blitzkrieg through his fear of being hit on the hindquarters with a hairbrush. Now when I even say the word brush, it sends Blitzkrieg into a happy tizzy because it means he has a chance to earn treats. (That's a very good problem to have, in my book.) However, the sound of clippers still terrifies him. The vet had to sedate Blitzkrieg last summer before the groomer could groom him. I want to spare Blitzkrieg as much doggie trauma as I can.

Therefore, the springtime dilemma is to decide whether I should or should not cut Blitzkrieg’s coat for summer. Then, if I do decide the boy needs a haircut, how short do I go? My childhood dogs were strictly wash and wear. Double coated dog grooming is still new to me. What do you do with your double-coated dogs in summer?

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sex in the City Movie Disappoints

I loved the TV show Sex in the City. Even when the story started to drag a bit, the clothes, locations, and subplots made up for the very few episodes that were not as stellar as most of those in the series. With that in mind, I waited with baited breath for the Sex in the City Movie to be released and I was ecstatic when I got the chance to go to a premier screening of the Sex in the City Movie on May 27th. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with the movie and the shoddy camera work sent me over the edge
I suppose that I was disappointed because I expected a little more of the movie. The TV show wrapped up all of the relationships into a nice package at the end of the series. The movie takes place 5 years into the characters futures. The women and their respective relationships have evolved (mostly for the better.) Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) are still dating, happily married Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Harry (Even Handler) adopted a little Chinese girl named Lily, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is still with Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis) and managing his career in LA, and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) still complains about moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn for her husband Steve (David Eigenberg) and their son Brady.

I expected that movie script would be as cleverly written as the TV show. However the movie left me wanting. I think the story was a cop out because they decided that the only way to come up with a movie plot was to envoke the cliché of breaking up some of the happy couples and reusing tired old plot devices that they’ve used in past seasons of the TV show, for example:
  • There’s a partner who’s caught cheating (Been there done that with just about every SITC character: Carrie/ Aiden/Big, Samantha/Richard/Other Women, Miranda/ Robert /Steve, Charlotte/Trey/the Gardener)
  • Someone gets committed relationship freak out (Been there done that with Big/Carrie, Carrie/Aiden, Steve/Miranda, Samantha/Everyone’s she’s slept with more than once)
  • Samatha freaks out because she’s in a long term relationship (Been there done that with Samantha/Richard, Samantha/Maria)
  • The girls have a fight and don’t speak for several days (Been there done that with Charlotte/Miranda, Carrie/Samantha)
The movie didn’t have the same level of humor that made me laugh like the TV show made me laugh either. Where were the kooky little subplots that don’t involve love such as Carrie’s stolen Manolos, or Charlotte’s showing Elizabeth Taylor? And sadly, there wasn’t nearly enough screen time for two of my favorite characters, Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone) and Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson.)
I was ready to give the movie a grade of B until I saw several scenes of horrifically and amateurish camera work by John Thomas. Throughout a pivotal scene between Carrie and Big, the camera framing was completely off and the overhead boom microphone kept popping in and out of the frame. At first, I thought it was intentional; maybe it was part of a subplot of Carrie and Big being on some reality show within the movie. But no, it was just plain shoddy camera work. At one point in the sequence, it looked like someone tried to “fix” The Case of Reappearing Overhead Micropohne by adding a black band to the top of the camera frame. It clearly didn’t work because you could still see some of the mike and close up shots of Chris Noth’s face were cut off that the chin. It was very distracting to the audience and really ticked me off because anyone else would be fired for such bad work. I can’t believe that no one in the production noticed this in the dailies and didn’t reshoot these scenes. Apparently, all of the money went into clothing the actors (because the clothes are fab and amazing) than into production, such as reshooting botched scenes or hiring a camera operator who knows how to correctly frame a shot. Certainly, this major gaffe will put the Sex in the City Movie up for a Razzie this year. So that being the case, I sadly lowered my grade of the movie from a B to a C. The Sex In the City Movie opens in theaters May 30, 2008.

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Five Natural Ways to Repair Brown Grass from Dog Pee

Blitzkrieg loves to romp in our backyard with the neighbor dogs Winston, Aaliyah, and Noel. Unfortunately, with happy dog rompage come happy dog peeage. The acid and nitrogen in the dog pee burns the grass and leaves brown dog urine spots all over our combined lawns. There are several chemical and food additive solutions to this problem but my neighbors and I prefer a natural approach.

Five organic remedies to repair those brown dog urine burns on your lawn that will not harm you or your dog.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Scare Your Neighbors with Garden Decorations!

shiny ball gone
replacement décor follows
yard to scare neighbors?

An unknown mischievous brat darling neighborhood cherub smashed the gazing ball I put in my front flowerbeds for height. I did some shopping around Design Toscano for a replacement garden decoration. I didn’t find a replacement for my gazing ball, but I did find some garden décor that would scare my neighbors.
Nothing says, “Welcome to My Home” like a two foot tall Garden Yeti!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Race For The Cure

Husband runs 5K races. This Saturday, May 17th Husband will run the Columbus Race for the Cure 5K. This race is special because Husband first started running it in celebration of his Grandmother, who beat breast cancer in 1969, a time when many people weren’t expected to survive the disease. Currently, Husband runs in memory of Grandmother. This year, we have another reason to run Race For The Cure.

Her name was Lis Kristof.

I knew Lis through the Mighty Mite Small Dog Sports Forum. She did agility with her dogs Kissy and Diva. And she fought breast cancer for the last eight years. On April 14, 2008 She told us:
Last Tuesday I was admitted to hospital, for eight years I have fought breast cancer. I have been diagnosed now with AML Leukemia and have been given approximately three weeks to spend on this wonderful earth. I have chosen not to do any more chemo as I believe I have received and given all this life has to give and take.With the help of my dear friends in Dallas we were able to talk the Dr's into spring me out of hospital today. Tomorrow at the Dallas Agility Working Group's trial I will run my darling Chinese Crested Diva for the last time - it wont be pretty, no one will be able to guess who's handling style I will use and I don't even know myself - just staying on my feet will be an achievement and to run with my very best friend and to be among friends will be enough to give me the energy I need to get through the day.I am thrilled I will also get to watch the veterans parade and to pay tribute one last time to all the great dogs that have helped form this sport that I so love.If you want to do anything for me pray that Diva and I can achieve a super Q, it is all we need to become ADCH [Agility Dog Champion] together, but even if we don't get it - I know I am blessed to share what time I have with my dogs and my friends.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Evil Dead Laundry Room (Really)

Husband and I had a bunch of action figures, toys, and posters in the computer room of our rental. It looked like a cross between That Old Guy Who Still Lives In His Parent’s Basement, a geek’s dorm room, and a cubical in an IT firm. Long story short – Interior Decorating Hell. 


Doesn't everyone have a Bruce Campbell bobble head on their dryer?
 Actually we have two.

Then Husband and I buy The Condo. We have a mortgage. That officially makes us Grown Ups. Grown Ups don’t decorate their homes with toys. That is until those Grown Ups have children. Grown Ups With Children are allowed to have toys strewn all over their homes without getting a citation from the Decorating Police. However, those toys aren’t decorations they are just children's toys.

The botched paint job distressed wall treatment in the laundry room gave me an idea. The walls reminded me of a roughed up cabin in the woods. Cabin In The Woods? Hey, wasn’t that the working title of the movie Evil Dead ? The nieces and nephews gave Husband some Evil Dead and Army of Darkness toys collectible action figures as gifts. 

Hmmm... I could use them to create an Evil Dead Laundry Room! Why not? It seems appropriate; after all laundry is an evil chore.

How I Decorated a Room with Toys

Monday, May 12, 2008

How to Create a Distressed Wall Treatment

Before we bought The Condo, my painting experience was limited to finger and tempera. I wisely decided that my first attempt at painting an actual wall should be in the laundry room because if I screwed the paint job up horribly, who would see it?

Turns out I did screw up the paint job horribly but was able to save it by creating a distressed wall treatment. Now I take everyone to see it.

Distressed Wall Treatment 

When bargain shopping, I love nothing more than The Thrill of the Hunt. I definitely found it at Habitat’s Restore . The Restore is a thrift store that sells donated new and used home improvement materials and the proceeds go to support Habitat for Humanity. I bought a new gallon of dark red paint for the walls and a 32 oz can of tan paint for the ceiling for under $8.00. Environmentally friendly because it keeps the stuff from going into a landfill and a steal because this paint usually goes for $24.00 at Sherman Williams.

The following weekend I cleared the laundry room of stuff, put down drop clothes and started painting the walls. The first coat of red paint was streaky but I figured that that the second coat would even things out. No such luck. After the second coat of paint dried, I still had blotchy walls. I used up all of my red paint and I couldn’t get more of that color because it was a mistint. Looks like I wasted a whole weekend painting. Gone. Kaput. Fineeto.

Friday, May 9, 2008

How to Make a Bottle Cap Tile Picture Frame

Every Friday Husband and I have a TGIF ritual. We drink a few dark craftbeers to celebrate that fact that we both made it through yet another often-crazy week. 

One Friday I came back from Trader Joe’s with a six-pack of Sea Dog Porter (because unlike college days, it’s all about the quality, not the quantity of the beer.) Husband jokingly accused me of buying Sea Dog because of its paw print bottle caps. He asked me if it was some sort of homage to Blitzkrieg.


Then Husband says, "These bottle caps are cool though. I bet you could do something with these." So I did.

My apologies for the photo quality, I had to use my phone for this photo.

How to Make a Bottle Cap Tile Picture Frame

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

12 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottles

Have a few empty plastic bottles lying around and don't have a recycling bin? That's OK because there are many ways that you can creatively recycle a plastic soda bottle if you don't want to throw it into the recycling bin. Here are 12 of my favorite ideas from around the Web.

1. I'm a coffe junkie. If I ever find myself in a coffee-free situation, this Emergency coffee maker may just do the trick.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Design a Bag Contest!

I like to poke around with computer graphic programs. I also like to win money and get free stuff. I found all three in Kroger’s Design a Bag Contest. contest is pretty straightforward:

  1. Use Kroger’s online paint program to create and submit a design for a reusable Kroger shopping bag
  2. Tell everyone you know to vote for your design
  3. Obtain the most votes, you win $500. Kroger will also print your design on a reusable shopping bag and sell it in their stores
The online paint program was easy to use. It didn't take me very long to figure it out and use it to create a professional-looking design. A click later and I submitted it to the contest for consideration.

Kroger will even give you a free reusable shopping bag just for entering the contest. You can submit your designs (and get credit for a free reusable shopping bag) April 11, 2008 through May 23, 2008. If you don’t want to enter the contest yourself, consider voting for me and my design. Thank you and good luck!

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Haiku Friday: Celebrate May Day and Beltane!

Haiku Friday

Beltane marks spring
jesters dance round May Pole ribbons
flower baskets bloom

May Day makes me feel nostalgic. Not for the coffee filter flowers I made for May Day baskets when I was a child but for the May Pole dances and brightly colored clothes of Beltane. My inner child loves Beltane. Why? Because once upon a time I was a professional jester.

Need Proof?

I designed and drafted the pattern for my favorite jester costume, hat, and props. I appliqued blue ribbon in a Celtic knot pattern at the bottom of the top skirt. The top skirt are overlapping panels that fly straight out when I turn.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

Trying to reduce our electricity usage by 20% this year, without replacing everything we own, had me singing The Condo Blues. (Condo Blues. What a great name for a blog, ya think?) After a couple of months into the New Year, I checked our electric bills. Our electricity usage didn’t go down from the previous month, it actually went up!

This is after I:

1. Switched my remaining incandescent light bulbs to CFLs

2. Switched to the Short Wash cycle on my dishwasher and continued to do only full loads in the dishwasher and air dry the dishes